July 2005 Bandwidth Report by Web Site Optimization

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FCC Fudging Broadband Figures? U.S. Broadband Penetration Jumps to 58.6 percent in June 2005

The FCC's recent broadband penetration report has critics wondering about its accuracy.

Is the FCC fudging U.S. broadband figures to avoid taking "immediate action" or artificially inflate penetration rates to help the President meet his stated goal of "universal, affordable access to broadband by 2007?" Only time will tell. Meanwhile, in June, U.S. broadband jumped 1.36 percentage points to 58.57 percent among active Internet users. Note that as of this month, the Bandwidth Report will track broadband and narrowband growth only using a new system of measurement. The new NetRatings NetSpeed report finds web connection speeds more accurately using additional parameters. The charts below, derived from Nielsen//NetRatings data, show trends in connection speeds to the Internet for United States users.

Home Connectivity in the US:

Most active Internet users connect from home with broadband connections. As of June 2005, narrowband users (56Kbps or less) comprise 41.43 percent of active Internet users in the US, down 1.36 percentage points from 42.79 percent in May 2005 (see Figure 1).


Broadband Growth in the US:

Broadband penetration in the US grew by 1.36 percentage points to 58.57 percent in June, up from 57.21 percent in May. Note that these figures are based on Nielsen//NetRatings new NetSpeed report, and are not directly comparable to our previous figures. Since we have only four data points from the new survey, we base our future broadband penetration rates on the previous month's data. Based on the growth rate we tracked until last month, broadband penetration among active Internet users in the US should break 60 percent by the third quarter of 2005 (see Figure 2). http://www.websiteoptimization.com/bw/0507/

Work Connectivity:

Most workers in the US enjoy high-speed connections to the Internet. Most use a high-speed line such as a T1 connection, and share bandwidth between computers connected to an Ethernet network. The speed of each connection decreases as more employees hook up to the LAN. As of June of 2005, of those connected to the Internet, 81.74 percent of US users at work enjoy a high-speed connection, up 0.25 percentage points from the 81.49 percent share in May. At work, 18.26 percent connect at 56Kbps or less (see Figure 3). http://www.websiteoptimization.com/bw/0507/

FCC Fudging Broadband Penetration Stats?

With the release of their recent broadband penetration report, the FCC is being criticized by a number of critics of fudging the figures. FCC chief Kevin Martin crows that the U.S. "leads the world in the total number of broadband connections with 38 million subscribers," and that we are "well on our way to accomplishing the president's goal of universal, affordable access to broadband by 2007." What he doesn't highlight is that the U.S. stands 12th or 13th in overall broadband penetration depending on who you listen to. In fact, the US is a generation behind leading countries in high-speed broadband adoption. Critics point to the facts that the FCC reclassified broadband as any connection over 200kbps and count any ZIP code as broadband enabled if just one resident is wired for broadband. Is the FCC fudging the figures to avoid taking "immediate action" or to help meet the administration's broadband goals?

About Web Site Optimization

Don't Make Me Wait! The new book titled "Speed Up Your Site – Web Site Optimization" by Andy King, and the companion web site are about designing "speedy" web sites with techniques that...

  • Cut file size and download times in half
  • Speed up site load time to satisfy customers
  • Engage users with fast response times and flow stimulus
  • Increase usability, boost profits, and slash bandwidth costs
  • Improve search engine rankings and web page conversions

Andy King is also the founder of WebReference.com and JavaScript.com, both award-winning developer sites from internet.com. Created in 1995 and subsequently acquired by Mecklermedia (now Jupitermedia) in 1997, WebReference has grown into one of the most popular developer sites on the Internet. While he was Managing Editor of WebReference.com and JavaScript.com, Andy became the "Usability Czar" at internet.com, where he optimized the speed and usability of their sites. In addition to his consulting work, he continues to write the monthly Bandwidth Report and the “Speed Tweak of the Week” for http://www.WebSiteOptimization.com.

Contact Matt Hockin at 503.246.1375 for an interview with the author or a review copy of Speed Up Your Site - Web Site Optimization http://www.interactivemarketinginc.com matt(at)interactivemarketinginc.com


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