What Do ISPs Do Now That People Actually Use Broadband?

from the uh-oh... dept

Many ISPs moved forward with broadband plans using the reasoning that broadband would basically let people do a bit more of what they were already doing: surfing the web and checking email. Sure, they might visit a few higher bandwidth sites, but the economics of broadband works when most users leave their connections wasted for most of the time. The problem, though, with that plan is that people tend to have different ideas. If the bandwidth is available, the applications and services needed to fill it will start showing up. For a while, some thought that might be file sharing, but with efforts to crack down on that through legal means, the new "threat" to the ISP industry appears to be online video gaming. A company with a traffic managing product (think they're just a bit biased?) is telling people that the launch of Halo 2 should be a wakeup call for the broadband industry -- realizing that they need to prepare for a world in which all that bandwidth they provide is actually used. Of course, for this particular company, that means buying technology from them for prioritizing certain packets, but the industry as a whole needs to understand that the old economics on which they based their models isn't going to hold for very long. This is only going to get more complicated as wireless broadband options become more popular -- as very few wireless providers are thinking along these lines at all.
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