Broadband lines approach 20 million mark

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

In its semi-annual survey of broadband services released last week, the FCC found that 13 million of those lines provide advanced services, with speeds exceeding 200 kbps in both directions.

Asymmetric DSL 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 in May, 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 most prevalent in wealthier neighborhoods. California has the highest number of broadband connections, followed by New York, Florida and Texas, the 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, the FCC said.

The 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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