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It's Official: Broadband Rules

In the event you have just awakened from a deep, seven-year sleep, it's finally official: Broadband dominates consumer Internet usage in the U.S.

Some 78 percent of active home Web users connected via broadband during the month of November, up 13 percent from a year ago, according to the latest Web usage numbers from Nielsen/NetRatings . Dial-up is now on its death bed, with only 22 percent of Internet users connecting via narrowband in November.

Not surprising, fat pipe surfers are also the heaviest Web users, spending a third more time online than their narrowband counterparts. In November, broadband users averaged 34 hours and 50 minutes of Web usage, compared to 26 hours and 13 minutes per person for narrowband. The usage gap is even more striking when one considers that it takes dial-up users 10 times as long to access the same Internet features.

So, what are broadband users doing online these days? Instant messaging and email are hot items, of course, along with online gaming. Indeed, two gaming sites -- Pogo.com and Electronic Arts Online -- captured the highest usage time per person in November, clocking in at more than four hours and three hours respectively. MSN Games and RuneScape also made the top 10 list, with average times reaching nearly two hours apiece.

Ironically for MSOs, [email protected] originally inked a deal to acquire Pogo.com for an undisclosed price in 2000, but then backed out of the deal later as fortunes failed at the multi-MSO cable ISP. Electronic Arts then purchased Pogo.com for a mere $50 million in 2001.

Nielsen/NetRatings also reported the largest Web advertisers for November. Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG) once again made the top 10 list, spending an estimated $18 million in November, $500,000 more than Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)

— Michael Harris, Chief Analyst, Cable Digital News

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