Broadband is coming--but when?
June 3, 2001
Having heard that broadband "will be here in six months" for several years now, I was interested to see John Dvorak tackle the myth of broadband. Yes broadband is being pushed hard by the biggest, most powerful entertainment and communications companies in the world. But I'm betting it'll be sooner rather than later.

The broadband hype overlooks a couple issues. Most sites target the dial-up user, making broadband just a luxury. Of course it's faster, but with improvements in the networks and better optimization of sites, the difference is less noticeable now.

And the dirty-little secret that no one talks about is that the servers on the other end of the connection are rarely able to pump out info fast enough to match the broadband connections—and adding that capability ain't cheap. (The only time I get anywhere near full speed on my cable-modem is downloading large files where the server isn't bogged down by lots of requests for little files.) Finally, broadband is likely to get more expensive, not less. If AT&T is successful in raising its broadband rates, you can bet others will follow.

And Dvorak makes a good point:

"We heavy Internet users see things differently and assume that everyone wants to be like us. But the AOL phenomenon should give us pause. Technology mavens saw AOL as training wheels for the Internet, yet AOL now dominates the online world, with over 20 million users—many of whom still use dial-up."

That said, the fact that my Mom is thinking about getting broadband says it's on it's way to going mainstream. But a key factor is price. Mom's thinking about switching because the cost of a second phone line just about equals cost differential between broadband and her current ISP. If the broadband costs go up, she and plenty of others may decide the internet at 56K is just fine, thank you. ::

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