ISP Review - The Future of Broadband

ISP Review looks at the possible future of broadband technologies

The Future of Broadband
By Mark 'Winter' Jackson : Dec 12th-2003 : Page 1 of 6

"It is vital that broadband becomes attractive price-wise to a much wider consumer market"

Not so long ago the concept of hi-speed Internet surfing at a cost of anything less than several thousand pounds per year would have been regarded as fantasy. So much has changed. Today things are very different, with broadband prices edging ever closer to dialup and coverage continuing to grow.

Having firmly established itself within markets around the world, thoughts are now turning to the future. Where can the technology be taken? How fast can it go? How will it change our lives?

While ISP Review can not answer all of these questions, we can shed some light on the technological improvements that ‘could’ be making their way into the UK and other countries within the next few years.

Economic Accessibility

Few would challenge the key selling points of speed, flexibility (always-on, fewer bandwidth limits etc.) and ‘controllable’ costs / prices. However, there remains an obvious gap between dialup and entry-level broadband.

Several UK ISPs (Tiscali and NTL etc.) have recently reduced prices to dialup levels through the offering of slower speed (128, 150 and 256Kbps) options. While it may be contestable as to whether they be defined as broadband, such options have still managed to prove extremely popular among consumers.

Tiscali UKs general manager, Steve Horley, has voiced to us his market vision for the future: “It is vital that broadband becomes attractive price-wise to a much wider consumer market. This will only be achieved by breaking critical price barriers and dramatically reducing up front costs (which generally ISPs are currently absorbing).

At £30 broadband is too expensive for most consumers who cannot yet realise the benefits of true convergence. Tiscali predicts 'entry level' broadband will stimulate uptake but only if DataStream broadband is allowed to flourish in a competitive environment.

In the future you will see a range of choices for the consumer in terms of speed, price and content. Ultimately speeds will move up but first we need to stimulate adoption.”

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