12:50 PM

Wired Broadband Adoption To Slow, But Wireless Shows Potential

Ipsos Insight's study reveals a decline in dial-up access and potential for growth in wireless broadband.

The number of wired broadband connections could be peaking, according to a new study.

Ipsos Insight's annual Face of the Web study shows that growth in wired broadband connections may be slowing. The study, released Wednesday, also reveals a decline in dial-up access and potential for growth in wireless broadband.

Seventy-seven percent of Internet users worldwide used broadband connections by the end of last year, compared to 21% who dialed for access, according to the report. Broadband access grew 7% in 2006 from the previous year, but annual growth could be on the cusp of a slowdown, according to the study.

"Over the past several years we have witnessed a significant migration within the online population to broadband access technologies," said Brian Cruikshank, executive VP and managing director of technology and communications for Ipsos Insight, in a statement. "Most of these users were either upgrading from dial-up connections, obviously craving faster connection speeds, or were new users that jumped straight to broadband access to get online. However, with fewer dial-up users to convert in the future, and fewer net new users to capture, broadband's mercurial growth may begin to plateau in many developed markets in the near future."

But Ipsos Insight said this slowdown is likely to present opportunities for wireless Internet access.

Only 15% of Internet users connect with wireless devices today, but the growth of household laptop ownership (34%) and the growing popularity of mobile browsing could change that, according to the study. One in three adults had accessed the Internet through mobile devices by the end of last year, the study found.

Developing nations lacking a wired infrastructure are also likely to feed demand for wireless as they try to leap-frog countries with tethered connections.

"More and more of the larger urban centers within these markets will continue to see developments in their wireless infrastructure such as municipal Wi-Fi and WiMax networks, which will not only make it more attractive for non-users to get online, but also introduce new users to richer content offerings from the start of their online experience," Cruikshank said. "The implications from a content and overall online experience are profound."

Since 2003, the percentage of Internet users who have used a high-speed connection to go online has increased by 20% as DSL has driven broadband penetration, according to Ipsos. At the same time, the number of people using dial-up connections fell from 45% to 20%, the study found.

The study was based on interviews with more than 6,500 adults, mostly active Internet users in 12 key global markets, at the end of 2006.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2014 Next-Gen WAN Survey
2014 Next-Gen WAN Survey
While 68% say demand for WAN bandwidth will increase, just 15% are in the process of bringing new services or more capacity online now. For 26%, cost is the problem. Enter vendors from Aryaka to Cisco to Pertino, all looking to use cloud to transform how IT delivers wide-area connectivity.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.