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Internet Content Devs Failing to Take Advantage of Superfast Broadband

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 (10:05 am) - Score 473
superfast broadband uk take up 2014

A new take-up map for superfast broadband (30Mbps+) connections in the United Kingdom has caused Point Topic to complain that millions of consumers are still “waiting for something to buy” because Internet content developers still haven’t come up with a “killer app” to take advantage of the service.

According to the analyst, some evidence suggests that people revel in the change of pace when they first get superfast broadband and download masses of data. But when the “novelty” wears off they revert to using their broadband in much the same way as they did before.

However this may overlook the historic fact that online data usage continues to surge despite subscriber numbers only growing by a fairly small amount each year (online video content tends to account for most of this), although admittedly this won’t yet be enough to tax most superfast broadband lines.

Oliver Johnson, CEO of Point Topic, said:

There’s been a massive shift in technology in this country in only three years. But we don’t yet see anybody taking advantage of it to sell new products to the mass consumer market. It’s as if we had built a new motorway network and cars stayed just the same.

A lot of people will be saying ‘I told you so’. There’s still a strong body of opinion which holds there is no need for such high speeds. But we think the killer apps will emerge, it’s just taking a while.

Many have claimed that once built a whole new ecosystem will emerge to fill the superfast niche and beyond. There’s just no real sign of it yet. People behave broadly the same with a hundred megabits downstream as they did with ten.”

Johnson goes on to suggest that some ideas for the fabled “killer app” could be 4K TV (don’t forget 8K after that) or multi-user HD social media services. But do we really need a “killer app” or might the natural evolution of online content take care of that itself?

superfast broadband uk take up 2014

It’s worth pointing out that anybody with a family, and thus likely to have several Internet-capable devices active at any one time, can already benefit from superfast broadband. Similarly the ability to download a 50GB game for a PS4 or Xbox One console in a comparatively short space of time is another welcome benefit (i.e. big data is done much more quickly).

Lest we not forget that the absence of a killer app doesn’t appear to be stifling take-up too much and most of that has largely taken place in areas that already have access to good connections. Meanwhile, as the roll-out slowly spreads to rural areas, it’s important to remember that slow and unstable broadband will continue to be the best “killer app” for superfast broadband uptake.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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7 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark

    If you were launching a commercial business would you launch something that has a technical barrier to take-up over which you have no control?

    Streaming speeds will creep up progressively and exponentially as will video calling.

    If you were out and about on your mobile and you could press one of two buttons to make a voice or a video call, would you feel confident to press the ‘video’ button now as it stands? Not sure I would.

    • Avatar DTMark

      Thinking about that – watching the box-set of “Fringe”, filmed back around 2003, they all regularly use their Sprint (“promotional consideration”) mobiles to make video calls, in one case, in a tunnel under a river. Best of luck with that in the UK.

      That was fiction, of course. But, should it be?

  2. Avatar RLP

    Its alright having this so-called killer app that can really take advantage of the higher speeds, but there are a few simple factors that will mess it al up:

    * There are still many who can’t get sensible ADSL speeds, let alone ADSL2+ or FTTP.
    * FTTC is getting cheaper, but not everyone can afford it or is interested and they are quite happy with what they have
    * Where there are multiple people sharing a connection, these killer apps will not be popular, especially if someone else is streaming some video

  3. Avatar zemadeiran

    When thinking outside the box is thinking within it….

    Remember this word “Blockchain”

    Nuff said.

  4. Avatar Bob2002

    >Johnson goes on to suggest that some ideas for the fabled “killer app” could be 4K TV

    I would not be at all surprised. 1080 HD never impressed me but 4K(well as close as I can get on a 30″ computer monitor) does. We are just at the beginning of 4K adoption and you can already buy 40″ 4K TVs for around £800, that’s roughly the same as I paid for my HD Panasonic plasma a few years ago – and the HD plasma was a mature technology. 4K displays are going to become cheap and commonplace so content is going to be required. FTTC/P broadband is in a great position to provide that.

  5. Avatar MrWhite

    This seems a bit of a sensational headline with little substance from Point Topic. For years developers have been working to ensure apps work across the internet from ‘dial-up’ to fibre. This can lead to constraining some of the creativity or functionality so it works for the majority. It’s more likely that these constraints will be removed over time, so not a “killer app” but more an evolution of the current ones.

    Of course, with more connected devices, just being able to use these at the same time without significant slow down will be a “killer” for most multi-person households.

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