April 18, 2004

Broadband Adoption at Home Grows Strongly in Winter Months of 2003 & 2004

55% of Internet Users Have High-Speed Either at Home or Work
Broadband Internet access is increasingly being woven into the work and home lives of Internet users in the United States. According to the February 2004 survey of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 55% of American Internet users have access to broadband either at home or in the workplace. Fully 39% of U.S. online users have broadband access at home. Much of the growth in broadband adoption at home is attributable to users’ unhappiness with the dial-up doldrums – that is, people growing frustrated with their slow dial-up connections. Nearly 60% of home broadband users say that impatience with dial-up connections or a desire to download files faster is the reason they switched to broadband. Price of service plays a relatively minor role in the home high-speed adoption decision. “People do more things online the longer they have been Internet users, and the additional waiting sours them on dial-up,” said John B. Horrigan, Senior Research Specialist at the Pew Internet & American Life Project and author of the report. “Paying more for broadband thus has big efficiency payoffs for many dial-up users. The extra monthly cost is well worth it for high-speed home users, and this is why they tell us price is not a big factor in their move to broadband.” Here are some highlights from the Pew Internet Project’s February 2004 survey:

  • 68 million Americans – or 34% of all adult Americans – have access to high-speed Internet connections either at home or on the job.
  • 48 million Americans – or 24% of all adult Americans – have high-speed access at home.
  • Home broadband adoption is up 60% since March 2003, with half of that growth since November 2003.
  • A surge in subscription to DSL high-speed Internet connections, which has more than doubled since March 2003, is largely behind the growth in broadband at home.
  • DSL now has a 42% share of the home broadband market, up from 28% in March 2003.
  • For the first time, more than half (52%) of a key demographic group – college educated people age 35 and younger – has broadband connections at home.
  • Only 10% of rural Americans go online from home with high-speed connections, about one-third the rate for non-rural Americans. The February 2004 survey interviewed 2,204 Americans age 18 or over (1,371 Internet users). Margin of error is +/-2 percent points for the full sample and +/-3 percentage points for Internet users. 63% of respondents were Internet users in the survey. The Pew Internet & American Life Project is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts to explore the social impact of the Internet. The Project does not advocate any policy positions.