And a note on broadband

The San Jose Mercury News, February this year, asserts:

  • Two-thirds of the 108 million US households have a computer connected to the Internet (71 million)
  • Two-thirds of those have broadband (48 million – 44.4% of all US HH)
  • Approximately
    three-fourths of Americans (adults?) are online at either home or work
    … leaving 25% not connected (by choice). The author says 90%
    penetration is needed for a technology to be considered "ubiquitous."

Broadband
access in the US differs from most of the rest of the world (Canada
being the exception) — most of us use cable and the rest of the world,
DSL. December 2005 data: the US ranks 12th in broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants — 6.5 with DSL and 9.0 with cable … 1.3 "other" for a total of 16.8 or 49 million subscribers.

Now
— let’s compare this with those industry numbers from SJMN. OECD data
say "49 million subscribers" and industry data say "48 million
households." If the terms are equivalent, then this looks pretty sound.
But the math makes it look like OECD is talking about people
(inhabitants) – which brings this far fewer than 48 million households.
(Headache!)

Cable penetration
of US households in March was only 59% – that means 41% don’t have
cable. Only 27.6 million of those 65.5 million households have cable
modems (42% of all cable subscribers). Interestingly enough, the chart
shows that cable passes by more households than the total number of TV
enabled households, so take even this deconstruction with a grain of
salt. [Data from National Cable & Telecommunications Association]

Looking at the US population,
21 percent lives in rural areas — and at least some of those folks
aren’t getting cable any time soon. Maybe these are the "other" folks
in the OECD dataset. But Iceland, a country that I perceive to be
"rural," has 26.7 subscribers/100 inhabitants … and they’re almost
all using DSL.

So … yes, broadband penetration is up but it’s
not ubiquitious or even in half all US households. Other data show it’s
higher in urban areas than rural, due to availability. The US relies on
cable more than DSL (why?) when compared to the rest of the world. This
makes the discussions about common carrier regulations and network neutrality even more important, in my opinion.

From my streaming media class.

Leave a Reply