High-speed Internet connections slow

High-speed Internet connections grew 23 percent in the second half of 2002, the FCC reported, as households and businesses signed up for broadband service at a slowing pace.

The FCC noted that 3.7 million new subscribers signed up for broadband between June and December 2002, a rate of growth down from the 27 percent posted in the first half of the year. For the full year, the number of high-speed lines increased by 58 percent.

Broadband access is seen as an important milestone for the success of technologies such as video-on-demand (VOD), Internet-based telephony and other advanced video services.

While 19.9 million homes and businesses connected via broadband at the end of last year, the rate of growth has decreased gradually. Broadband providers until recently have charged between $40 and $55 per month, while dial-up providers usually charge around $20 per month.

Broadband service is now available in 88 percent of the nation's zip codes, the FCC found, but service can vary widely within zip codes as the equipment necessary to provide service is not always available.

For more information visit www.fcc.gov.

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