Broadband Access Grows, Narrowband Declines

NEW YORK Every age group of the online population continues to convert to high-speed Internet connections, and thus spend more time online.

More than 33.6 million Internet users accessed the Web via broadband in December 2002, nearly a 60 percent year-over-year increase, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Meanwhile, those logging on to the Internet through dial-up access declined 10 percent to 74.4 million last month.

The New York-based research firm also found that all age groups are adopting cable, DSL, ISDN or other high-speed Web connections. Surfers ages 55-64 represented the fastest-growing segment; nearly 3 million logged on to the Net through broadband in December, a 78 percent increase over the same period a year earlier. More than 3.1 million 50- to 54-year-olds and 1.3 million 65- to 99-year-olds used faster connections in December, up 75 percent and 67 percent, respectively.

The youngest online users also reported high growth rates in high-speed access. Broadband usage among teenagers ages 12-17 rose 66 percent to nearly 4.2 million, and among kids ages 2-11 went up 62 percent to 3 million last month.

Broadband users also spent more time online, conducted more online visits and viewed more pages than their narrowband counterparts during the month. High-speed surfers spent an average of 17 hours and 20 minutes online last month, compared to dial-up users, who averaged less than 10 hours during the same time frame. Broadband users also conducted nearly 15 more visits while viewing over 1,300 pages per person, more than double the amount of pages accessed by their narrowband brethren.