Broadband lines approach 20 million mark

The number of businesses and homes with high-speed Internet connections grew 23 percent in the second half of 2002, reaching 19.8 million lines, the Federal Communications Commission reported.

In its semiannual survey of broadband services released last week, FCC found that 13 million of those lines provided advanced services, with speeds exceeding 200 Kbps in both directions.

Asymmetric digital subscriber lines were up 27 percent, to 6.5 million lines. Cable modem connections grew 24 percent, reaching 11.4 million lines, the FCC said.

Wireless, satellite and fiber-optic hookups combined accounted for less than 1 million lines at year's end, according to the report.

The ability of broadband connections to handle services such as streaming video and rich media pushed its adoption rate to 13 percent of all Americans last month, the highest number so far, according to a separate report from the audience measurement company Nielsen/NetRatings.

Narrowband users, mostly those with dial-up modems connecting at 56 Kbps or less, dropped 12 percent last month, the Nielsen report said.

High-speed connections are more prevalent in wealthier neighborhoods. California has the highest number of broadband connections, followed by New York, Florida and Texas, FCC said. The rankings were unchanged from the first six months of 2002.

In the first half of the year, high-speed connections increased from 12.8 million to 16.2 million, FCC said.

FCC collects the statistics to monitor and analyze broadband deployment.

Click to link to a PDF of the full FCC report.

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