ISP Review - NDO Interview

ISP Review interviews UK ISP NDO

NDO Interview
By Mark 'Winter' Jackson : Feb 1st-2005 : Page 2 of 3

"higher speeds will bring higher bandwidth demands which will ultimately lead to higher costs"


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

These proposals are only really an extension to the current RIP Act which came into force in October 2002. These existing UK legislative acts already require ISPs to retain a variety of data about users Internet use. It would be nice however to have some governmental funding towards the cost of implementing the proposed EU data retention legislation as otherwise end-users subscription costs will need to rise to cover the installation and equipment costs.

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?

Yes I do see ISP’s playing a role in the adoption of VoIP services as ultimately the VoIP service will run over the ISP’s network even if they do not actually provide the ATM breakout point. Given BT’s current network upgrades to move all current voice traffic to use VoIP technology over the next few years the advent of VoIP services will be upon us soon.

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?

There are a variety views on this you could take and a whole selection of factors the also come into play with respect to faster broadband speeds. Personally most users do not actually need a connection faster than 512k or 1mb as web browsing will not be any faster, emails will not be sent any faster and the general Internet experience will remain the same.

The people who are heavy downloader’s will need the extra speed so their downloads can arrive even faster however this increase in downloading has impact in other areas – namely the switches and routers that make up the fabric of the Internet and these will need to be upgraded to keep up with the increases in speed of the end-user connections.

Another view is that with the arrival of digital TV services via ADSL (like for example “HomeChoice” in London, which streams TV services over an ADSL connection) as more entertainment media is delivered in this way, such as for example an online version of Blockbusters where you choose a film from a website and your computer then streams it to your television this is an argument for an increase in speeds of end-user connections.

However whilst the UK telephone network is based on copper-pair cabling and most of these cables were laid in the 1960s and 1970s unfortunately the quality of this cabling is already having an adverse effect on ADSL quality due to interference and without a mass cable replacement scheme being deployed by BT to perhaps install fibre cables to every home in the UK much faster speed technologies will be a few years away yet. Another impacting factor will also be cost, as higher speeds will bring higher bandwidth demands which will ultimately lead to higher costs.

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

Yes I think dial-up services will still be in-place and used 5 years, maybe even 10 years into the future. There will always be exceptionally light users of the Internet who just simply check their emails once a week on say a Sunday afternoon – and this little usage will mean they simply cannot justify the cost of moving to a broadband based connection.

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