Broadband Usage Triples

To keep Congress posted on the nation's broadband rollout, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Thursday issued a snapshot of high-speed access usage and availability.

FCC's first "Broadband Survey" concluded that there are about 2.8 million users of advanced Internet services, 1.8 million of whom are residential or small business customers.

The FCC survey, which polled usage as of Dec. 31, 1999, found that the broadband penetration rate has tripled from .3 percent of households in late 1998 to 1 percent a year later.

Of those subscribers the breakdown by technology was roughly 875,000 cable users to 115,000 DSL users.

FCC signaled that it was pleased with the rate of broadband rollout. But the Commission said it worries that industry's rush to broadband will leave key population segments behind -- a phenomenon now referred to as the Digital Divide.

Key members of Congress, which commissioned the study, are pushing industry to ensure that key groups, such as rural Americans and inner-city residents are not left behind.

Jennifer Jones is an InfoWorld senior editor.

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