Regional ISPs Drive Broadband Growth in Rural Markets

Rural Broadband Penetration Reaches 81 Percent in 2009, Up 13 Percentage Points in Past Year

RESTON, VA, May 11, 2010 - Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released a study on the role of regional Internet service providers (ISPs) in the growth of rural broadband in the United States. The study found that broadband penetration in rural markets has experienced double-digit growth in the past year, driven largely by regional providers continuing to capture an increasing share of the market in these areas.

“The recent announcement of the government’s national broadband plan demonstrates the increasing importance of broadband expansion as a country-wide initiative, with rural areas playing an important role in this expansion,” said Brian Jurutka, Comscore senior vice president. “Although rural markets have witnessed significant increases in broadband penetration during the past few years, these areas still lag behind the penetration rates of metropolitan areas. As the primary drivers of rural broadband growth, regional ISPs have the opportunity to increase their market share by delivering broadband to the millions of households still relying on dial-up services.”

Regional ISPs Continue to Drive Rural Broadband Adoption

Fueled by greater price competition, increased consumer demand, and growth in bandwidth-intense activities like video streaming and peer-to-peer sharing, broadband penetration continues to make gains across rural markets. Broadband penetration in rural markets reached 81 percent in Q4 2009, representing a sizeable increase of 13 percentage points in the past year alone.

Broadband Penetration* for Rural Markets**
Q4 2009 vs. Q4 2008
Total U.S.
Source: Comscore, Inc.
  Q4 2008 Q4 2009 Point Change Q4 2009 vs. Q4 2008
Rural Markets 68% 81% 13

*Number of homes with broadband as percent of all homes with an Internet connection
**Rural markets defined as having a population less than 10,000

Regional ISPs ranked among the fastest-growing providers across several rural U.S. markets. In Maine, TDS Telecom experienced a 101-percent increase in the number of broadband households, while in Arkansas Windstream Communications recorded a 57-percent gain. Frontier Communications led as the fastest-growing ISP in Nebraska (up 28 percent), Idaho (up 27 percent) and Alabama (up 26 percent).

Fastest Growing ISPs in Select Rural States
Percentage Increase in Number of Broadband Households
Q4 2009 vs. Q1 2009
Source: Comscore, Inc.
State Fastest Growing ISP Percent Change Q4 2009 vs. Q1 2009
Maine TDS Telecom 101%
Arkansas Windstream Communications 57%
Nebraska Frontier Communications 28%
Idaho Frontier Communications 27%
Alabama Frontier Communications 26%

Regional Players Lead Markets in Rural States

Regional service providers GCI and Bresnan Communications ranked as the leading service providers in the country’s three most rural markets (based on population density). GCI captured 61 percent of the broadband market in Alaska during Q4 2009, while Bresnan Communications reached 56 percent share in Wyoming and 52 percent share in Montana.

Broadband Market Share Leader in Rural States
Leading ISPs in Rural States
Source: Comscore, Inc.
State Leading ISP Q4’09 Broadband Market Share
Alaska GCI 61%
Wyoming Bresnan Communications 56%
Montana Bresnan Communications 52%

Mr. Jurutka continued, “Often major ISPs need to focus their strategic operations in their largest and most profitable markets, which gives smaller regional providers the opportunity to establish strongholds in more rural areas while playing a key role in national broadband expansion.”

About Comscore

Comscore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit

Sarah Radwanick
Director, Regional Product Marketing
Comscore, Inc.
+44 (0) 20 7099 1784