Broadband Daze

Normalcy is most appreciated after it is interrupted and then restored. I mention this because the cable guy climbed the pole outside our house yesterday and fixed whatever had interrupted our broadband service. Blogging is much easier when I don’t have to dress first and run out to an Internet café!

Speaking of broadband, a MediaPost story pointed me to a Pew Internet report suggesting that:

“while broadband adoption has grown quickly in recent years, there are reasons to believe that it is slowing. The report develops a model of broadband adoption that hypothesizes that the intensity of online use is the critical variable in understanding the home high-speed adoption decision and the trajectory of the adoption curve. Using national survey data from 2002 and 2005, the paper shows that the role of online experience in explaining intensity of internet use has vanished over this time frame; the explanatory effect of having a broadband connection has grown. This suggests that relative to 2002 there is not much pent-up demand for high-speed internet use at home.”

The foregoing was taken from a summary written by Pew author John Horrigan, and the implications are troubling. If Web-based media are presumed to be one of the growth sectors of technology, increasing broadband penetration would seem to be critical.

The slowdown suggested by Pew is all the more troubling in view of the relative penetration in other nations. I recently mentioned San Francisco’s Open TV, a firm in the IPTV space, that had issued a white paper in the form of a PDF. On page four of that white paper, Open TV lists household penetration figures for 20 nations. South Korea tops the list. Italy is last. The United States is about midway between. Yes, we have a huge installed base. But it should be bigger.

For more details about broadband penetration in the United States, and the split between cable and DSL service, scan a press release issued in August by Leichtman Research Group. It is current through the end of the second quarter of 2005. At that time, says Leichtman, “the twenty largest cable and DSL providers in the US, that represent 94 percent of the broadband market for cable and DSL, accounted for about 37.6 million high-speed Internet subscribers. Combined net additions for these providers in the second quarter of 2005 totaled 1.8 million subscribers — the fewest of any quarter in the past year.”

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media