Radio’s Online Future

Broadband penetration may be slowing but it’s still growing in the US, primarily in rural areas. According to comScore, Rural markets (defined as having a population less than 10,000) in the U.S. experienced a 16-percentage point increase in broadband penetration from Q2 2007 to Q2 2009, making it the fastest growing geographic market segment in the nation. Comparatively, micropolitan areas (population between 10,000-50,000) grew 14 percentage points during the same period, while metropolitan areas (population 50,000+) grew 11 percentage points.

broadbandWhile larger markets are nearing saturation, smaller markets still have a way to go with broadband penetration. But those smaller markets are the target of President Obama’s initiative caller for accelerated broadband deployment. The national broadband plan is due in Congress early next year.

Another thing that should improve is broadband speed in the US, which lags behind an embarrassing number of other countries. According to a report in AllThingsD, South Korea’s broadband speed is 4x that of the US. South Korea reportedly has the fastest broadband speeds, US speeds are slower than those in Japan, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany among others. Within the US, speeds vary substantially as well, with more densely populated areas leading the way in access to faster broadband.

Faster connectivity and better penetration are two factors that will positively impact audience growth of Internet radio. As broadband expands, so will the online audience. That’s the only reason you need to develop your online offerings. An interesting website, unique audio content, local resources, interactive tools – these are all critical elements for a successful online platform. Make sure you are cultivating a relationship with your audience for an online future…

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