NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

Then and Now: How Broadband Advancement Powered the Decade

Then and Now: How Broadband Advancement Powered the Decade

Then and Now

The last ten years saw digital assistants, smart light bulbs, streaming sticks, and tons of other disruptive technologies. Those innovations require a steady internet connection to do their jobs, something we now take as a given. That’s because over the last decade, both broadband adoption and speeds saw massive growth.

  • At the end of 2009, just over half of Americans had a broadband connection. Today, that number has grown to 80 percent.
  • Not only are more Americans connected, their connections are faster. According to Akamai, the average peak connection speed in the US was 3.8 Mbps in 2009. Today, the average download clocks in at 96.25 Mbps, a growth rate of 2,432%.

As broadband has become ubiquitous, new technologies and services have emerged, all relying on dependable and widespread connectivity. Streaming video, telework, IoT, and cloud gaming (to name a few) all took the decade by storm, and none would be possible without a robust broadband network.

The Rise of Online Video

Take, for example, how Americans watch video. Back in 2009, DVD sales accounted for 89 percent of home entertainment spending. Contrast that to today, when digital video makes up 83 percent of the market. Indeed, the way we consume entertainment has dramatically changed. In 2009 Nielsen reported that Americans spent just 22 minutes a day watching online video. Now, the average American adult watches 79 minutes of internet-enabled video each day.

A Transformation in Gaming

A discussion about the past decade of tech wouldn’t be complete without talking about the transformation of gaming. In the last ten years, games went from discs to downloads, and now this year, saw the first cloud gaming service launch. Broadband speeds and ubiquity have fostered the massive growth of esports, which is projected to have the second biggest fanbase of any professional sport after the NFL.

Increased Telework Options

Super-fast speeds have also had an impact on how Americans do their jobs. 40 percent of the workforce now works remotely at some frequency, thanks to robust reliable networks that can easily handle HD video conferencing and remote file storage.

The Emergence of the Internet of Things

Let’s not forget the internet of things. Smart thermostats, smart speakers, and all those helpful digital devices have quickly worked their way into our lives. Cisco estimated that in 2009 there were about as many connected devices as there were human beings on Earth (6.8 billion). As internet networks grew, new tech innovations were able to easily connect to home networks, and now Gartner projects that there will be a staggering 20.4 billion connected devices in 2020.

So, as we round out a decade of fast-moving developments in broadband-enabled technology, it’s exciting to think what might come next. Internet speeds are still dramatically growing, and gigabit networks have launched around the country as the industry works toward 10G speeds. Whatever the next revolutionary technology is, broadband networks are ready.