Broadband To Dominate In Large U.S. Markets

From comScore’s press release:

comScore’s research revealed that San Diego has become the first metropolitan market in which a majority of Internet users connected to the Web through a broadband connection rather than a narrowband service.  Further, the analysis found that among the largest 50 markets, San Diego, Boston and New York led the nation in the usage of broadband connections.  

At the national level, 36 percent of online users accessed the Web through a high-speed connection in the fourth quarter of 2003, up 2 points from 34 percent in the third quarter.  Comcast holds the dominant position in the broadband market, providing access to approximately 19 percent of broadband users and 7 percent of all online users.  SBC, the country’s largest DSL provider, accounts for 11 percent of consumer broadband connections and 6 percent of total ISP subscriptions.  Not surprisingly, AOL continues to supply Internet access (narrowband and broadband) to more Americans than any other provider, with a 28 percent share.   

Internet Service Provider (ISP) Market Share

U.S. Consumer ISP Subscriptions

Q4 2003

Source: comScore Networks

   

Market Share

   

Market Share

 

Total U.S.

100%

     

1

AOL (America Online)

28%

6

EarthLink

5%

2

Comcast

7%

7

Road Runner

4%

3

United Online

6%

8

BellSouth

3%

4

Microsoft Corp.

6%

9

Verizon

3%

5

SBC

6%

10

Cox Communications

2%

       

All Other

30%

Note:  Shares based on subscriber accounts through which direct Internet access is provided and which are actively used in analysis period.  (i.e., does not include “Bring Your Own Access” subscriptions) 

Broadband Poised to Eclipse Narrowband in Major Markets

comScore research revealed that in many of the largest markets in the United States, consumer broadband usage is nearly on par with narrowband connections.  In fact, in the fourth quarter, San Diego became the first major market in which broadband subscriptions outnumbered narrowband connections.  Broadband usage is notably more common in larger markets, with approximately 40 percent of Internet users in the top 50 markets enjoying the benefits of a broadband connection, compared to a national penetration level of 36 percent. 

A number of the nation’s major population centers, including Boston, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, rank among the top ten markets in terms of broadband penetration.  By contrast, only three top-25 markets (St. Louis, Sacramento, Indianapolis) were ranked among the ten markets with the lowest broadband penetration. 

“In the past several months, we’ve seen the U.S. online population reach 150 million people and household broadband penetration cross the 33-percent threshold,” said Russ Fradin, executive vice president of comScore Networks.  “Now we’ve recorded another milestone, with broadband accounting for more than half of a major U.S. market’s Internet connections.”  

Connection Type by Market

Top 50 Local Markets

Q4 2003

Source: comScore Networks

Top 10 Broadband Markets

Top 10 Narrowband Markets

 

Broadband

Narrowband

 

Narrowband

Broadband

San Diego

52%

48%

Albuquerque-Santa Fe

76%

24%

Boston

50%

50%

Grand Rapids

70%

30%

New York

49%

51%

Harrisburg, PA

70%

30%

Providence, RI

47%

53%

Indianapolis

70%

30%

Kansas City

46%

54%

Sacramento-Stockton

69%

31%

Detroit

45%

55%

Birmingham

68%

32%

Tampa-St. Pete

45%

55%

Nashville

68%

32%

Orlando

44%

56%

Louisville

67%

33%

San Fran-Oak-SJ

44%

56%

Memphis

66%

34%

Los Angeles

44%

56%

St. Louis

66%

34%

At a national level, 63 percent of broadband subscriptions are cable connections, while DSL subscriptions account for approximately 37 percent of the high-speed market.  In nine of the ten markets with the highest broadband penetration, the majority of subscribers with a high-speed connection use cable modems.  The exception to this pattern is San Francisco, where approximately 60 percent of broadband subscriptions are DSL accounts.   

One in Four Internet Users Intends to Switch ISPs

A comScore proprietary survey indicated that more than one in four Internet users intend to switch ISPs in the next six months.  The majority of those reporting they planned to change ISPs said they would be selecting a broadband provider.  By far the most common reason cited for switching providers was a desire for a faster connection.  The second most popular reason for switching ISPs was price, which was likely a key contributor to the strong performance of United Online relative to other dial-up providers in the fourth quarter.

“comScore’s survey research reveals a substantial number of people on the verge of switching their ISP, indicating that a significant number of consumers are benefiting from intense competition among incumbent phone and cable providers, as well as newer market entrants,” continued Mr. Fradin.  “It’s clear that increased promotional activity and lower prices introduced by these competitors are fueling the momentum of broadband growth, particularly in larger markets.”

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