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Surf Is Up For New Broadband Users

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Users are taking to their new high-speed Internet access just fine, thank you. Although a majority of Webbies still access the Internet via dial-up speeds of 56k, the number of new at-home high-speed Internet users jumped 121 percent in July 2001, compared to the same time last year, according to a new report by Milpitas, Calif.-based Nielsen Net Ratings. In total, nearly 18 million users accessed the Internet at-home through a high-speed connection.*

What is more, those users who upgraded to broadband service witnessed a seismic change in their surfing habits. There's only one word to describe usage habits by new broadband users: Up. And the increase of usage is often dramatic. Users who had switched from narrowband (56K or lower) to broadband service in July experienced a 130 percent increase in page views and spent 23 percent more time surfing the Web.

Analysts believe that the increasing adoption of broadband subscriptions bodes well, in particular, for streaming media, which already reaches a large section of the Web population. As of July 2001, streaming content reached more than 50 percent of all Internet users, according to Arbitron and Edison Media Research. [IQ Morning Briefing, Aug. 22].

"Streaming media is a major driver behind broadband adoption," said T.S. Kelly, director and principal analyst, NetRatings. But Kelly also noted that many companies stand to benefit from the growing adoption rate of broadband. "Faster speeds improve the overall online experience, encouraging broadband surfers to explore more sites and spend more time online. All this added activity benefits advertisers, e-commerce sites and content players."--Sid Ross

DATA POINTS:
--In July 2000, a little more than 8 million users accessed the Internet using a high-speed connection. A year later, in July '01, that figure reached 17.7 million, an increase of 121 percent.

--49.6 million users got online using a 56k modem in July 2000. In July 2001, that figure rose to almost 64.3 million, an increase of 29 percent.

--Before broadband (Jan.'01) users spent 12 hours online in a total of 22 sessions. After broadband (July '01) that figure jumped to 15 hours and 27 sessions.

*All figures represent at-home U.S. data for July '01, unless otherwise indicated.