Study: ISPs should take advantage of broadband boom

With broadband now accelerating one-third of the world's consumer Internet accounts, service providers need to reassess their offerings and diversify services to take advantage of the technology growth, a new study says.

According to U.K. market researcher Point Topic, by the end of September three out of ten households with Internet access, or 53 million, had cable modem, digital subscriber line (DSL) or other broadband connections.

The market is on track to exceed 85 million broadband-connected households by the end of this year, Point Topic said, putting the onus on Internet service providers (ISPs) to adapt their offerings.

"Service providers should work harder to show a range of service bundles, for media streaming, peer-to-peer applications and even gaming," Point Topic Publisher Tim Johnson said last Friday. "They should have packages that fit what people are really doing (with broadband)," he said.

Western Europe, South America and China are leading the growth spurt, according to Johnson, while markets like South Korea, Canada and the U.S. are already quite mature in terms of broadband penetration.

"Hitting the 30 percent mark has been relatively easy, the real challenge will be hitting the 60 percent mark," Johnson said.

One challenge is that broadband pricing has been set rather low, Johnson said, making it difficult for ISPs to offer profitable services.

"People moan about broadband prices but from an industry perspective, prices are too low," Johnson said. Mobile phone services, for example, started out quite high and then came down, allowing service providers to extend a range of offerings, Johnson said.

With prices more or less set, ISPs now need to focus on tapping into different consumer needs, he said. "Providers need to start taking advantage of what has already been achieved," Johnson said.

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