recent Comcast television commercial for its broadband services shows
two turtles discussing the attributes of dial-up. These creatures may
soon be the only non-broadband users left.
According to Nielsen//NetRatings,
the number of active US broadband users from home increased by 28% last
year, rising from 74.3 million in February 2005 to 95.5 million in
While overall Internet penetration in the US has stabilized over
the past few years, reaching 74% of households in February 2006,
broadband penetration has risen steadily over the past four years.
From February 2003 to February 2004, US broadband users as a
percentage of Internet users grew by 12 percentage points, and in
February 2005 it increased another 10 percentage points. This year
broadband users as a proportion of all Internet users increased an
impressive 13 percentage points over the previous February, as 68% of
all US Internet users reportedly connected via broadband.
As broadband penetration increases, so does the average time
users spent on their PCs. That’s because with faster connections users
are devoting more time to online photos, audio and video sites — which
previous required slow downloads. Since February 2003, the average PC
time per person among active Web users has increased approximately five
hours from 25.5 hours a month to 30.5 hours a month.
"The correlated growth in average PC time per person is the
result of broadband users’ greater satisfaction with their online
experience," said Jon Gibs of Nielsen//NetRatings. "The ‘always on’
nature of a broadband connection allows the Internet to become more
entrenched in consumers’ lives."
With increased broadband penetration, Nielsen//NetRatings
reports a growing trend toward accessing streaming media online at
video sharing sites.
MSN Video garnered 9.3 million unique visitors in February
2006, growing 44% over the previous year. YouTube and Google Video grew
from relative obscurity to substantial players, and iFilm and Yahoo’s
video search saw triple digit year-over-year growth.