Residential internet penetration has grown only 1% since 2012, LRG says

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The real internet usage growth, LRG said in its latest report, comes from the wireless internet.

Revealing the level of saturation in the U.S. residential broadband market, Leichtman Research Group (LRG) said that 82% of homes have wireline broadband internet, compared to 76% in 2012.

The growth rate compares to a spike from 53% to 76% from 2007 to 2012. About 98% of homes with internet use wireline broadband, the research company said.

Overall, 84% of U.S. homes get some kind of internet service at home—a nominal increase compared to the 83% reported in 2012.

The saturation ties into slowing rates of customer growth for residential broadband service providers. Overall, according to LRG, the top cable and telco providers added 382,445 customers in the third quarter, compared to 625,563 in the third quarter of 2016. It should be noted that while market growth is slowing, cable operators continue to increase market share.

The real internet usage growth, LRG said in its latest report, comes from the wireless internet.

LRG found that 75% of U.S. adults access the internet via smart phones, up from 44% in 2012. And 68% of adults use both landline and wireless internet, vs. 59% in 2014 and 42% in 2012.

"The percentage of households that have an internet service at home is similar to what it was five years ago. Yet, increasingly the home internet service is broadband, and it has also become more common for home internet service to be paired with Internet service on a smartphone," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG, in a statement. "Over two-thirds of households now get internet service at home and on a smartphone."

Other data pointing to the saturation of the U.S. broadband market: 91% of homes with annual incomes above $50,000 subscribe to a broadband service, compared to 72% with incomes below $50,000.

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