ISP Review - AOL UK Interview

ISP Review interviews ISP AOL UK

AOL UK Interview
By Mark 'Winter' Jackson : Feb 8th-2005 : Page 2 of 2

"Caps on broadband (or narrowband services for that matter) potentially undermine the medium"


4) What’s your opinion on the EU’s new ‘Data Retention’ (forcing ISP’s to hold onto customers’ personal online traffic data) proposals?

We believe that the most realistic and workable solution is a system of self-regulation, which is already in operation.

5) Do you perceive ISP’s as playing an important role in the adoption of Voice-over-IP (VoIP) technology, or is it best left to the telecoms operators?

ISPs are already driving the adoption of this technology among consumers as a way of reducing telephony costs, but in the future it may be part of the ISP/telecoms infrastructure, bringing consumer benefit, without customers knowing or caring about the technology that is providing it.

6) Many speak of forthcoming faster broadband technologies (ADSL2, Fibre To The Home etc.), do you think there’s demand for faster services or should things stay as they are?

In 2005 there will emerge a clear demand for content and applications to make the most of the speeds that are already available. Music and film content are the obvious areas, but new ways of making the most of high-speed access will hopefully emerge.

7) Will dial-up services still have a place in the UK market 5 to 10 years down the line?

Although the number of dial-up users will reduce, there will probably be demand for dial-up services for many years to come, particularly among light users, mobile users or those on a smaller budget.

8) Many fear that the growing use of bandwidth limits will make broadband technology more restrictive, especially at a time when higher definition content, online music and movie downloads growth demand the opposite. What’s your ISP’s position on this?

We agree completely. Caps on broadband (or narrowband services for that matter) potentially undermine the medium, leaving consumers nervous of surcharges or unable to make the most of new applications and content. Why have a great sports car, but only a little petrol.

9) Can we expect broadband to get even cheaper, or do you feel that the correct pricing level has already been achieved for what is currently offered?

Prices may or may not reduce further, but consumers are likely to continue to get more for their money. Faster speeds, bundled services or cheaper phone calls may all become part of the broadband package, particularly if local loop unbundling is successful.

10) Is Local Loop Unbundling something your provider has considered, already invested in or would consider in the future and why?

All major ISPs are looking at LLU because it increases the choice available to us as an ISP and therefore what we can offer to our customers. It will require major investments however, and will need Ofcom’s continued management of the process.

11) Finally, what do you perceive as being the most important developments for your ISP in the coming year (2005)?

New content services such as Video on Demand; greater choice in telephony providers and services; continued growth in broadband; even more security features to protect internet users; continued investment in high quality customer services; more community projects that give a wider range of people the chance to benefit from high-speed services; the success of local loop unbundling on a large scale.

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ISP Review sends our thanks to AOL UK's Jonathan Lambeth for taking time out to answer the questions.

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