Teaching Examples

U.S. broadband growth continues
July 27, 2006, 12:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Broadband connections in the United States increased by 18 percent during the second half of 2005, from 42.4 million to 50.2 million lines in service, according to a report from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, released yesterday.

For the full 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2005, U.S. broadband connections increased by 33 percent, an addition of 12.3 million lines.

Unfortunately, there’s no real data on household penetration for broadband in this report.

Of all lines in use, 42.9 million “served primarily residential end users”; 57.5 percent of lines were cable modem and 40.5 percent were asymmetric DSL (ADSL) connections, according to the FCC.

Total population was 296.4 million people in July 2005, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census. The Census counted 111.3 American households in 2003 (last available data) — so optimistically, we can estimate that 39 percent of U.S. households have broadband (42.9/111.3). The Census estimates 2.57 people per household, however, so the real number of U.S. households today is probably higher — thus broadband penetration is probably lower, maybe 36 or 37 percent.

Compare that with South Korea, which has the highest level of broadband penetration in the world: more than 70 percent of households there have high-speed connections (source: ITU, 2005 report, PDF).

Here’s how the FCC defines high-speed Internet:

For reporting purposes, high-speed lines are connections that deliver services at speeds exceeding 200 kilobits per second (kbps) in at least one direction, while advanced services lines are connections that deliver services at speeds exceeding 200 kbps in both directions. The June 2005 and December 2005 data provide more information about the “speeds” of advanced services lines and finer distinctions among technologies than previously reported.

Now, back to that 2005 ITU report for a comparison:

Currently VDSL speeds of 20-40 Mbit/s are available to many Koreans at just under US$ 50 a month with average speeds in the country at 4 Mbit/s. However, the Government plans on having 20 Mbit/s connections available to all homes by 2006. The speed is important because it represents the speed necessary to view high-quality HDTV signals. The 20 Mbit/s speeds are only a starting point for Korea’s broadband vision. In the near future, VDSL speeds are expected to reach 50+ Mbit/s. Hybrid fibre/coax connections will be able to reach 30 Mbit/s. By 2010, Korea plans to have between 50-100 Mbit/s available to all homes. These goals may seem optimistic but may very well become a reality given the tremendous growth of Korean broadband that has taken place in the space of just over five years.

VDSL is “very high bit-rate DSL”; read up on it here.

The increase in ADSL lines exceeded the increase in cable modem connections for the first time, the FCC said. “ADSL increased by 5.7 million lines compared to an increase of 4.2 million lines for cable modem service.”

You can read the FCC press release or the full report, both in PDF format. (There’s an excellent map of service availability nationwide on page 24.)

Update: Nice charts for worldwide broadband penetration at WebSiteOptimization.com.

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2 Comments so far
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I’m not a telecom expert, but I would venture to guess that many of those cable connections are college students and 20-something-year-olds. As I was recently hunting for a roommate close to my age, I noticed every person I got in touch with used their cable connections for Internet access. Many of us just don’t want the added expense of a land line.

But miss the big game? Phsaw!

We just opt for the high-speed Internet package that comes with our cable TV and hook it up to a wireless router for the rooms that have no connection.

Comment by Danny Sanchez

It’s interesting to me that in many other countries, there is no cable TV at all. Only broadcast, and dish-based satellite.

In such countries, which lack the excellent infrastructure built by the Korean government, the effort is to deploy wireless broadband instead of wired — because the quality of their telephony land lines is quite poor.

Comment by Mindy McAdams

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