Shazam! Speed is here, and it's hitting 99 percent of all zip codes in the U.S. (granted, a zip code qualifies as "connected" even if only one person in that zip code has high-speed internet). But behold! The U.S. is finally making progress to catch up with Europe in broadband penetration. In 2006, the number of broadband lines reached 82.5 million, which represents a 61% increase over the 51.2 million served in 2005 [PDF].
In this snippet of news one can better justify integrating bandwidth-hungry features on a website. Are you web 2.0 startup? You now have 61% more people poised to utilize high-speed video. Afraid to make your site image-centric for fear of those dial-up users abandoning your content? Don't fret! Dial-up users now number less than 20% of the connected population, and that number is falling fast. Still, though, the U.S. still has a lot of headway to make if it wants to outrank Denmark (which is the most connected country on OECD's list, with one in three inhabitants connected to a high-speed line).
If you're curious as to which states and regions are best connections, browse around the above PDF link from the FCC. The report contains some nifty color-coded maps, too!
High Speed Internet image by uberculture [cc, 2.0]