eMarketer: Broadband Transforms Web Usage

Broadband users "integrate the Internet into their daily lives" in a way that has changed "how they communicate, socialize, shop, and access entertainment," according to a report released Tuesday by research company eMarketer.

"Speed is changing everything," states the report, dubbed "Broadband Demographics & Usage." "Broadband users don't just do more of what dial-up users do--an always on, high-speed Internet connection fundamentally changes their behavior, online and off," states the report.

eMarketer also estimated that 49.5 million U.S. broadband users ages 14 and older (which comes out to 66 percent of all broadband users) made an online purchase last year, and projected that, in 2008, 98.8 million broadband users over age 13 (or 72 percent of broadband users in that year) will do so.

eMarketer's finding that broadband is transformative is similar to the conclusion reached by Yahoo! in its April report, "It's a Broadband Life." Yahoo! found that high-speed Internet access changed the nature of users' online activities. Beth-Ann Eason, vice president-category development at Yahoo!, said at the time, "Broadband really transformed users' experiences .... When you have broadband, you're more likely to pursue a greater depth of knowledge around a particular topic."

The Yahoo! report concluded that broadband users are more likely to download videos, share photos, publish Web pages, and participate in online dating, among other activities, than are dial-up users.