Monday, May 17, 2010

Four of five rural households on the Internet now have broadband, company study says

Broadband penetration among Internet users in rural areas has experienced double-digit growth in the past year, driven largely by competition among regional Internet service providers, says a new study. "Although rural markets have witnessed significant increases in broadband penetration during the past few years, these areas still lag behind the penetration rates of metropolitan areas," Brian Jurutka, senior vice president of comScore, a publicly traded company that specializes in measuring digital media and conducted the study, said in a news release. "As the primary drivers of rural broadband growth, regional ISPs have the opportunity to increase their market share by delivering broadband to the millions of households still relying on dial-up services."

In rural markets, defined as those of fewer than 10,000 people, 81 percent of households with Internet access had broadband in the fourth quarter of 2009, "representing a sizeable increase of 13 percentage points in the past year alone," the firm reports. The growth was "fueled by greater price competition, increased consumer demand, and growth in bandwidth-intense activities like video streaming and peer-to-peer sharing." In the three states with the least density, broadband penetration among Internet households reached 61 percent in Alaska, 56 percent in Wyoming and 52 percent in Montana. (Read more)

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