Overly Optimistic: Analysts Predict Cellular Broadband To Surpass Copper Broadband By 2010

from the yeah,-right dept

There's just something about new wireless technologies that seems to make analysts over-estimate their impact. I still remember when people were talking about how GPRS was going to be a real DSL replacement. GPRS, of course, was an incredibly unreliable and ridiculously slow update on GSM wireless technology. Yet, before it was used, there were stories predicting how it would be a wireless revolution. And then people started using it. And pretty much the same thing has happened with each advance in cellular technology. I remember people saying that EDGE, EV-DO, and HSDPA (all network upgrades) were going to be good enough to replace DSL or cable modems. Yet, even though EV-DO and HSDPA get decent speeds (still much slower than your average DSL or cable), the real problem is how these networks simply don't have the capacity to be a real home broadband replacement. That's why all of the contracts have ridiculous limits, suggesting you can't do very much with them, and often placing exceptionally low usage caps on the services.

Of course, don't tell that to the analysts, who can't resist making the same exact prediction about cellular broadband replacing home broadband. The latest such report is focused on the UK, and says that cellular based broadband for computers will surpass DSL or cable as the primary connection for users by 2010. That's not very far in the future. Now, certainly, mobile technology has improved greatly over the years, and there's still plenty more to come. However, the only really consistency in the mobile world is that many analysts over-estimate both the speed with which these new networks are adopted and the quality of these mobile networks. It would certainly be great, if true, but consider me skeptical.

Filed Under: broadband, predictions, uk, wireless


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  1. identicon
    SteveD, 20 Jun 2008 @ 3:28am

    You never know...

    Broadband is in such a mess in the UK right now that who knows where this might go. Profits for the big providers are slim, and wholesalers like BT are desperately searching for investment to replace the old copper networks (they even went as far as to demand the BBC paid for network upgrades due to all the bandwidth its new iPlayer was using).

    Investment in any region without strong competitors is low, and the big cities are really the only place you'll get high speed for low prices. I live next to an exchange in a rural area, but my £40/month 8Mb connection is the maximum I'll be able to use for quite some time. If only it managed more then a 2Mb connection at primetime I might even be happy with it...

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