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Home networking to skyrocket, study says

The United States will be looking a bit like South Korea before the decade is up, Forrester says.

The number of networked homes in North America will swell to 46 million by 2009, up from 10 million in 2003, according to market research company Forrester.

This spurt is expected to boost sales of consumer electronics and access devices such as digital video recorders (DVRs) and camera phones, Forrester said. The data was garnered from a survey of 60,000 households.

DVRs are poised for a tenfold growth by 2009, Forrester says. Meanwhile, camera phone usage should spread from 2.7 million households in 2003 to 58 million households in 2009.

Our reporters' take on what's
happening in broadband.

About two-thirds of North American homes will be connected by mobile phones by then, Forrester predicts.

Additionally, the study said that, in the past year, 4.3 million North American households started using broadband services to access the Internet, taking the total number of broadband users to 23.1 million. Forrester estimates that number will triple over the next five years, a prediction similar to a recent forecast by the Yankee Group.

Though cable companies still account for over 60 percent of broadband connections, the growth of these services will slow, Forrester said.

Between 2001 and 2003, DSL's market share grew by 5.7 percent, whereas cable broadband's share fell by 6.5 percent, according to the research company.

The survey also attempts to throw light on Internet users' habits. E-mail continues to be predominant online activity for most, Forrester said. Broadband users are more likely to download music and video, visit comparison-shopping sites and use photo-sharing sites. The average broadband user is also much more likely to have made an online purchase of $80 or more in the past three months, the company said.

Compared with their dial-up counterparts, broadband consumers earn 27 percent more, spend 52 percent more time online and are more optimistic about technology, Forrester said.