Gartner predicts 77% of US households will have a broadband Internet subscription within the next four years.
Just over half of U.S. households currently subscribe to broadband Internet services, but Gartner predicts that that percentage will grow by more than 20 points by 2012. Amanda Sabia, a Gartner principal research analyst, says one of the biggest factors in the spread of broadband will be the advent of such 4G wireless services as WiMAX and Long Term Evolution that are expected to be launched in various markets over the next four years.
Worldwide, 17 countries will have broadband penetration rates of 60% or more by 2012, up from five countries in 2007, Gartner says. South Korea, which currently has the highest rate of broadband penetration in the world, at 93% of households, will retain its lead as the most-connected country in the world, with 97% of households having a broadband subscription.
With a projected 77% household penetration rate, the United States will be tied with Japan for the fifth-highest broadband-penetration rate in the world, trailing only South Korea (97%), the Netherlands (82%), Hong King (81%) and Canada (79%). "Depending on the specific market conditions, availability of Internet-enabled devices and the continued impact of broadband on consumer lifestyles, we expect some markets will have a broadband ceiling at 80% penetration or greater," Sabia says.