Broadband Usage Continues to Grow

NEW YORK More narrowband Internet users are migrating to broadband alternatives as costs to the high-speed services continue to drop, according to a recent study from Nielsen/NetRatings.

More than 40 million people accessed the Web via a high-speed connection in May, a 49 percent year-over-year increase, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Conversely, the number of people accessing the Web through a narrowband hook-up declined 12 percent to 70 million users.

“Clearly people are discovering the perks of high-speed access, from streaming video and audio to rich media,” said Mark Ryan, director of analysis at Nielsen/NetRatings, a part of Adweek parent VNU.

Women slightly outpace men in terms of broadband adoption at 51 percent versus 48 percent, according to the New York-based Internet audience measurement firm. Men (20.1 million) who access the Internet via broadband connections outnumber women (18.9 million), however, and more women (37.8 million) log on via narrowband than men (31.8 million).

Senior citizens continue to be the fastest-growing age group using broadband, rising 64 percent to 1.7 million. Despite the rise, 65- to 99-year-old people still are increasing their year-over-year narrowband usage by 3 percent.

People earning between $75,000-100,000 belong to the fastest-growing income bracket using high-speed access, increasing 55 percent to 8.1 million users. And students make up the largest group of broadband users in the occupation category, growing 51 percent from last May to 7.8 million users; more than 12.3 million students still log on via narrowband.