It's not yet quite as common as a toaster, but a home broadband connection is trending in that direction. According to a new Scarborough Research report, 49 percent of U.S. adults now have a broadband connection at home, up from 12 percent in 2002.
There's wide variation from place to place, though. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose is the most thoroughly broadbanded metro area, with 62 percent of adults having a broadband connection in the household. Boston and San Diego are the runners-up (61 percent apiece). Also in the top 10 (except it's a top 11 due to a tie for 10th place): Hartford/New Haven, Conn.; Honolulu; Seattle/Tacoma; Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; Providence/New Bedford, R.I.; Atlanta, and Phoenix.
Among other major metros, New York and Los Angeles each had a broadband-penetration rate of 55 percent, while Chicago was a notch behind, at 54 percent. Dead last on Scarborough's list was Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va., at 29 percent.
The report emphasizes that broadbanders are more likely than other Internet users to be actively engaged in online pursuits. "They are 30 percent more likely than total Internet users to have downloaded podcasts during the past month, 29 percent more likely to have downloaded/watched TV programs and 27 percent more likely to have downloaded/listened to other audio clips during this timeframe," says the research firm.