Cable is leading the way in bringing broadband to nearly every American. According to Kagan Research, LLC, the Cable Industry makes high-speed Internet (HSI) service available to more than 92% of the households in the U.S.
The cable industry has invested well over $100 billion since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to develop the hybrid fiber-coaxial infrastructure that provides the backbone for high-speed access to the Internet. The HFC network’s superior bandwidth enables transmission speeds that are unsurpassed in the residential marketplace, and unmatched by DSL.
A Few Facts About Broadband Internet Access in the United States
- Cable operators are delivering HSI service at 5 Megabits per second (Mbps) or greater to the vast majority of Americans, or more than 90% of U.S. households.
- As of September 2007:
- approximately 31 million households subscribed to cable HSI service,
- more than 26 million other households received HSI service via DSL, satellite, or fixed wireless providers, and,
- the resulting U.S. household broadband penetration rate was approximately 50%.
- Given an average American household size of 2.6 inhabitants, the above household HSI connections are available to almost 150 million people.
- In addition, there are a variety of other HSI access points for individuals, some representing a second or third connection, in addition to household HSI service. However, some subset of the individuals in the following groups may not have HSI service in their home, thus raising the percentage of all U.S. residents that have access to HSI service.
- There are approximately 16 million students on college campuses. Most, if not all, of these campuses provide wired and wireless HSI access for the students and staff.
- There are approximately 75 million managerial, professional, sales and office workers. It is estimated that more than 93% of US workers connected to the Internet with a broadband connection as of February 2007, resulting in 70 million users of broadband services in these workplaces.
- In addition there are more than 3 million healthcare workers, an equal percentage of whom can be assumed to have access to broadband.
- Finally, millions of other workers undoubtedly have HSI access at their place of employment, be it in retail establishments or other workplaces.
- As mentioned above, some subset of these workplace HSI users may not have HSI access at home, and therefore the percentage of Americans that do have access to HSI service will increase as a result of this access.
- According to Wi-Fi Alliance, there are 120,000 registered Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide, and that number does not include many access points that are easy to set up and are not reported.
- As of June 2006, there were 1.1 million non-business mobile wireless subscribers and 9.9 million business mobile wireless subscribers. While higher costs and slower speeds still render these services to be not comparable substitutes for wired service, it is a growing market and faster speeds are planned.
Taking only the household, workplace, and college campus users into account, it can be estimated that total Internet users in the United States amount to more than 230 million (notwithstanding, as noted above, that some of these users may be counted more than once because of multiple means to access the Internet).
U.S. Census Bureau; 2005 American Community Survey
U.S. Census Bureau; Statistical Abstract of the United States: 2007
Nielsen/NetRatings, Web Connection Speed Trends – Work Users