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US Broadband Market Reaches Critical Mass

Coast to coast broadband users is changing the Internet's dynamics
Scottsdale AZ - Apr 07, 2004
With close to 27 million U.S. business and residential subscribers at the end of 2003, broadband is now clearly a mainstream service, reports In-Stat/MDR.

The high-tech market research firm projects that the mainstreaming of broadband will be huge, as the existence of a significant subscriber base opens up markets for other services that are looking to take advantage of the broadband connection, such as home entertainment/networking, Voice over IP (VoIP) and online gaming.

"This starts a cycle where growth in both broadband and applications feed the growth of each other," said Daryl Schoolar, a senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR. "This applies equally to the business subscriber. Broadband growth should also improve service provider operations as well."

However, the one major challenge that faces the future provisioning of broadband will come from a less tech-savvy subscriber.

According to Schoolar, "As broadband moves into mass adoption, newer subscribers will be less experienced with computers and the Internet. They will expect all of the benefits of the Internet, but will have less patience for dealing with its technical issues.

"When their service goes down they are going to be less likely than early adopters to perform self-diagnosis, and more likely to just pick up the phone and call customer service. Also, their lower level of technical knowledge will make communicating with them more difficult. However, the opportunities will outweigh the challenges."

In-Stat/MDR also found that:
At the end of 2003, one in every five U.S. households subscribed to a broadband service. In the United States, cable modem continues to be the most common broadband access technology, with DSL remaining in second. Broadband over Power Line, after years of discussion, is finally moving out of the lab and into actual homes.

Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) continues to be hindered by cost and regulatory concerns. Fixed Wireless Broadband (FWB) is now the third most common broadband access technology in the United States. While cable modem may be the broadband technology of choice in the United States, worldwide, DSL dominates due to lack of cable data service, and greater housing density outside of the United States.

At the end of 2003, Comcast and Time Warner accounted for the majority of all cable modem subscribers. Overall, six cable operators had 91 percent of the U.S. cable modem market at end-of-year 2003. SBC and Verizon accounted for the majority of U.S. DSL subscribers at the end of 2003. Overall, five providers accounted for 94 percent of the U.S. DSL market.

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Global Internet Governance Is Working But Needs To Be More Inclusive
New York - Mar 30, 2004
The current system of Internet governance seemed to be working well, and the question was how to better coordinate the work of specialized bodies and ensure the involvement of all stakeholders, participants told a forum on the issue that concluded today at United Nations Headquarters.