Web Surfers Continue to Feel the Need for Speed

NEW YORK The number of Internet users accessing the Web through a broadband connection at home grew by 9 percent in just six months, according to a new study from comScore networks. The rise resulted in 28 percent of all home Web surfers logging on via a high-speed connection in March.

Conversely, dial-up usage went down 2 percent during the same period from October 2002 to March 2003.

Clearly, more people are converting from dial-up services to cable, DSL, ISDN or other high-speed Web connections. According to a Nielsen/NetRatings report released in January, more than 33.6 million Internet users accessed the Web via broadband in December 2002, nearly a 60 percent year-over-year rise. Meanwhile, those logging on to the Internet through dial-up access declined 10 percent to 74.4 million that same month [IQ Daily Briefing, Jan. 15].

ComScore partly attributes the increased emphasis on connection speed to the shift in content from predominantly text and static graphics to streaming video and other bandwidth-intensive media.

While one of the most attractive benefits of broadband is speed, the New York-based Internet research firm said that speed varies significantly across providers and by the type of broadband connection. In fact, comScore found that the average cable modem connection was more than 50 percent faster than the average DSL connection.