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
    David/IronChef, 20 Jun 2008 @ 4:25am

    I love a good bedtime story...

    Interesting. And how do these pertrayors of truth, vis a vis "Analysts" think cell sites are backhauled to the switching center? Magic and fairy dust?

    By design, cellular sites are typically connected via copper T1 lines. It's doubtful that a 500-cell site system in a major metro area will upgrade each site to a fiber links also. (Lot of roads will have to be dug up)

    So your system is only as strong as it's weakest link, and if your reliant on copper for backhaul, well then, uh, Cellular broadband by design, CANT be faster than copper. But if they to think so, I'll say I believe in the tooth fairy, click some ruby slippers together, and ask:

    Show me how this plan will work!

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