Broadband Breaks 50% Of Mass, Marks A Critical Pass

More than half (51%) of the American online population accessed the Internet via broadband connections in July--up from only 38 percent in July 2003, according to estimates released Tuesday by Nielsen//NetRatings.

The finding represents an important milestone on Madison Avenue, where the 50 percent penetration threshold is deemed a sign of critical mass for a mass medium.

Sixty-three million Web users connected to the Internet via broadband during July 2004, as compared to 61.3 million accessing the Internet through narrowband. Overall growth for broadband connections rose 47 percent year-over-year, while narrowband dropped 13 percent annually.

The data also reveals that broadband penetration is greatest among adults ages 18-20 (59%) and kids ages 2-11 (58%), and is lowest among the 50-plus crowd.

Broadband Vs. Narrowband Penetration


Connection Speed July '03 July '04
Broadband 38% 51%
Narrowband 62% 49%

Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, July 2004. Broadband connections include ISDN, cable modems, and DSL; narrowband connections include modem speeds from 14.4K through 56K.

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