Broadband Usage Correlates to Income Level

NEW YORK The percentage of people accessing the Web through a high-speed connection goes down as income level decreases, according to recent findings from Nielsen/NetRatings. Not surprisingly, the cost of broadband is largely to blame.

“While broadband has become much less expensive over the past few years, it’s still a significant cost as compared to narrowband. Couple high-speed access with other utility expenses and households with tighter budgets simply would not be able to afford the luxury of having broadband,” said Kenneth Cassar, director of strategic analysis at Nielsen/NetRatings, a part of Adweek parent VNU.

Nearly 70 percent of the 7.9 million Internet users with household incomes of $150,000 or more logged on through a broadband connection in March, while 61 percent of the 17.8 million in the $100,000-150,000 earnings bracket satiated their need for speed.

Conversely, just 36 percent of the 37.8 million Internet users in the $25,000-50,000 income group used a high-speed connection. And only a fourth of the 9.4 million belonging to households with earnings below $25,000 did so.

Web surfers in households with incomes of $75,000-100,000 (about 26.4 million in March) posted an even split among narrowband and broadband users.