Broadband Internet access is now nearly universal, with rural areas closing the gap with metropolitan areas, according to a new report from comScore Inc., an Internet audience measurement company. The study found that nationwide, 89 percent of Internet households now go online via a broadband connection. "Across the country, we have witnessed growth in broadband adoption, driven by greater price competition and increased consumer demand, as bandwidth intense activities such as video streaming and peer to peer sharing continue to grow," said Brian Jurutka, VP of telecommunications at comScore. "With low speed DSL priced at about the same level as dial up in many areas, there is little incentive for households to remain on dial up," he pointed out.
Additional findings from the study:
- 92 percent of Internet homes in metropolitan areas with a population of 50,000 or more are on broadband. This is up from 87 percent a year ago and 81 percent two years ago.
- 83 percent of Internet homes in areas with populations of 10,000 to 50,000 are on broadband. This is an increase from 76 percent a year ago.
- 75 percent of rural area Internet homes are on broadband, which represents and increase from 66 percent a year ago.
Of the five largest metro areas, the comScore shows:
- New York has the greatest broadband penetration at 96 percent.
- Chicago is second at 92 percent.
- Philadelphia and San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose have 89 percent each.
- Los Angeles is at 87 percent.
Levels of penetration have taken on a new interest, noted the comScore analysts, because rural broadband penetration was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year. The Recovery Act provided $7.2 billion to the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service, to accelerate deployment in areas without broadband. A national broadband plan is due to go before Congress in February.
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