The U.S. has fallen behind on broadband penetration, but that will change in the next four years, according to a report from Gartner.
In 2012, 77 percent of all American households will be accessing the Internet via broadband, compared to 54 percent last year, the report stated.
Gartner’s analysts have put together a list of 17 countries that all will have penetration levels that exceed 60 percent in 2012. Last year, 11 countries on that list where ahead of the U.S., but in four years, only South Korea, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and Canada will lead it in household broadband penetration.
The U.S. will share fifth place with Japan, which will see equally impressive growth.
Key to the large growth in the U.S. will be a combination of lower prices and increased interest as customers currently on dial-up move to broadband, according to Fernando Elizalde, principal research analyst at Gartner.
Several countries that the U.S. will pass are in Europe, including the U.K., France and Sweden. In competition with Europe, the U.S. will benefit from a younger population, according to Elizalde.
In 2012, South Korea, the Netherlands and Hong Kong will have penetration rates of 97, 82 and 81 percent, respectively.
When looking at the penetration in emerging versus mature markets, the overall growth is skewed. Not only will the digital divide continue between these two markets, but it will widen by 13 percentage points, according to Gartner.
On a worldwide basis, household penetration will grow from 18 percent of households in 2007 to 25 percent of households in 2012.