Broadband is becoming a mainstream, must have residential service, according to In-Stat/MDR. The high-tech market research firm is projecting strong growth in both cable and DSL subscribers over the next several years, growing from a combined 24 mln subscribers in 2003 to nearly 50 mln subscribers in 2008. While growth will remain strong, it will be slowing as the market moves to maturity and the subscriber base becomes quite large. This transition has already occurred for cable service, and is on the cusp for DSL. Broadband is to this decade what cable TV was to the 1980s, evolving from a leading edge service to a standard offering with mass adoption. In 2004, 27.3% of US households subscribed to either a cable modem or DSL broadband service, by 2008, this will grow to 42.1% of households. This represents growth from just over one-quarter of US households to nearly one-half.
While broadband is becoming more prevalent across all ethnic and income groups in the US, certain groups currently represent higher concentrations of subscribers. Based on ethnicity, Whites/Caucasians account for the largest number of broadband subscribers, but Blacks/African Americans account for the highest growth rate. Upper middle-income households ($50,000 to $100,000 annual income) are the largest base, by income, of broadband subscribers and also represent the highest growth potential over the short term. While there will be fewer DSL subscribers vs. cable subscribers through 2008, DSL will achieve higher growth rates over the next several years.