Posted by: David | September 1, 2009

Broadband Plays Catch-Up in Rural Areas, Outpaces Growth in Big Cities (comScore)

We could quibble over the rather obvious headline from this very good report on broadband from the folks at comScore.

Innovation goes where the most people (and therefore money) are located. That is, cities.

Growth rates, expressed as a percentage of change, always favor smaller universes. Adding 1 to 5 amounts to a 20% growth rate; adding 1 to 100 equals a 1% growth rate.

Moving past the “Duh” moment, comScore has captured a significant change in rural areas. Seventy-five percent of the rural market now has access to broadband, up from 59% two years ago. That means people in more rural areas can now enjoy streaming video and those rich media sites we have all become accustomed to.

Nationally, 89% have access to broadband.

Lower costs are the reason for growth in rural areas. Says Brian Jurutka, a comScore VP: “With low-speed DSL priced at about the same level as dial-up in many areas, there is little incentive for households to remain on dial-up.”

That said, however, only 63% of rural households access  the Internet. More than one-third of rural households — from the mountains of North Carolina to farms of Iowa to the ranches in Texas — have NO Internet access.

We recently vacationed in North Carolina where the access was quirky — something about my MacBook not liking the wireless connection. Life is very different without the Net, and news readers quickly stop counting (1,000+) the number of unread entries.

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