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Report: Broadband home use jumps

The number of people using high-speed Net connections to surf the Web from their homes has surged this year, according to data from Nielsen/NetRatings.

The number of people using high-speed Internet connections to surf the Web from their homes has surged this year, according to data from Nielsen/NetRatings.

More than 21 million people used broadband Internet services, such as cable modem and DSL (digital subscriber line), from home in November, according to the report. That means one in five people online at home have a broadband connection, a 90 percent jump from November 2000.

This "explosive" growth is largely the result of savvy packaging from DSL and cable-modem providers that bundle cable and long-distance with broadband services, said T.S. Kelly, director and principal analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings. Kelly also cited a general increase in Internet use since the Sept. 11 attacks as people cut back on travel and entertainment outside the home.

While more people may be using broadband connections at home, the actual number of broadband accounts is only about half that--an estimated 10.7 million residential subscriptions, according to Imran Khan, a senior analyst at The Yankee Group. The difference points to each subscription being used by more than one person, Khan said.

Khan said subscription growth has actually slowed this year as consumers cut back in the recession. Service providers need to offer tiered pricing--charging lower prices for slower connections--as some companies have done recently, Khan said.

"Subscriptions are growing, but the growth is not as strong as last year," he said. "With broadband, adoption going forward is going to depend on how services are priced and packaged. They need to become cheaper."

The report comes amid the high-profile bankruptcy of Excite@Home and the resulting fallout of customers as they try to switch over from the high-speed Internet service to networks being created by Excite@Home's cable partners.