Study: 50-Plus Crowd Leads Broadband Surge

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Home broadband Internet access increased 59 percent in 2002 while dial-up access declined 10 percent, according to a report released yesterday by Nielsen//NetRatings.

The vast majority of Internet users still have dial-up access, however. In December, 33.6 million people accessed the Internet at home via broadband, while 74.4 million accessed through dial-up connections, the New York Internet audience measurement firm said.

Broadband's growth bodes well for online marketing and advertising as people with high-speed access tend to be more active Internet users.

Older people were the fastest-growing group of broadband users. Nearly 3 million 55- to 64-year-olds accessed the Internet through a broadband connection from home in December 2002, up 78 percent from the previous December, the report said. Also, 3.1 million 50- to 54-year-olds accessed the Internet through a broadband connection in December 2002, a 75 percent rise.

The largest group of high-speed Internet users is 35- to 49-year-olds. Ten million of them used a broadband connection in December, the report said.

The number of Internet users ages 12 to 17 with broadband access also spiked as 4.2 million of them accessed the Internet that way from home in December 2002, up 66 percent from the previous December.

High-speed Internet users averaged 17 hours and 20 minutes online last month while dial-up users averaged less than 10 hours, Nielsen//NetRatings said. Broadband users also viewed more than 1,300 Web pages last month, more than double the number viewed by their dial-up counterparts.

In other findings, was the No. 1 advertiser in December in terms of number of impressions, according to Nielsen//NetRatings' ad research service AdRelevance. Not counting house ads, Amazon served 4 billion ads in December, the report said.

The Estee Lauder Cos. Inc. came in second, serving 3.2 billion impressions in December, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

Nos. 3 to 10, respectively, were Classmates Online, 2.9 billion; SBC Communications Inc., 2.3 billion; USA Interactive, 2.2 billion; Dell Computer Corp., 2 billion; Barnes & Noble Inc., 2 billion, Coolsavings Inc., 1.8 billion; AT&T Wireless Services Inc., 1.7 billion; and Columbia House, 1.6 billion.

Yahoo was the No. 1 brand in December with 80 million unique visitors, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, which defines brand as a collection of domains and URLs owned by a single company.

Nos. 2 to 10, respectively, were MSN, 75 million; Microsoft, 75 million; AOL, 71 million; Amazon, 41 million; Google, 37 million; eBay, 35 million; Real, 33 million; Lycos Networks, 31 million; and About Network, 22 million.

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