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Dr. R.H. Rusli
CITI Institute

The Future of Broadband Technology.
Editorial Department

Recent survey by Allied Business Intelegence (ABI) indicated that the number of high-speed Internet access subscribers in the US will increase from 2.32 million in 1999 to 42.4 million in mid if 2005. In the meantime the worldwide broadband subscribers will jump from 5 million in 1999 to 91 million in 2005.

Thus by far, cable modems have been the clear leader in high-speed Internet access when it comes to low-price, multi-megabit data transfer rates, winning out over DSL(Digital Subscriber Line). Cable's early lead is due largely to an earlier market entry, according to the report "The DSL Solution: ADSL/SDSL Equipment and Subscribers" by ABI, which found that at the early of 2000, high-speed cable Internet service had 2.15 million US subscribers, while DSL had only 500,000 US subscribers.

According to the report that the DSL providers cannot roll out the service fast enough. Due in part to increasing advertising campaigns promoting DSL, some providers were seeing 50 to 60 percent growth in subscription rates, and experiencing significant backlogs in deployment, ABI found.

The residential Internet users in the US are beginning to jump on the broadband wagon, many US businesses still have yet to convert to high-speed Internet access. According to Veritical System Group, the "Broadband Industry Update", installations of broadband access connections from established businesses in the US will first surpass dial-up access in mid of 2003. By that year, DSL installations will exceed all other broadband installations and business access technologies combined, including leased lines, frame relay, ATM, cable modems, wireless, satellite, and optical.

The total number of US Internet-connected businesses is projected to increase significantly in the next three years, jumping from 3.0 million establishments in mid 2000 to 4.50 million in mid of 2003. During this time, broadband connections will increase by 265 percent while use of dial access will decline 10 percent.

"The emerging technologies such as DSL will enable companies to cut cost effectively by connecting to the public Internet at broadband access speeds," said Rosemary Cochran, Principal of Vertical Systems Group. "This is particularly encouraging for small and medium-sized business establishments that have been previously unable to afford dedicated connections."

For the residential consumers, many questions still remain regarding broadband access. According to a survey of 1,000 members of Greenfield Online's Internet-based panel by 2Wire, Inc., more than 50 percent of people in the US do not know if DSL service is available in their neighborhood. Younger users are more likely to know if DSL is offered in their area than older users, the survey found. More than half (53 percent) of Internet users ages 25 to 34 know if DSL is available locally; compared with 37 percent of Internet users age 55 and older. Not surprisingly, the higher the income, the more likely respondents were to be aware of DSL. Sixty-four percent of Internet users making more than $100,000 per year know about local DSL service, compared to only 39 percent of Internet users making less than $35,000 per year.

A reasonable consideration and timely deployment of advanced telecommunications, including broadband Internet access, has been a topic the FCC is keeping a close eye on. While the latest report by the FCC has found deployment to be up to standards, certain groups of consumers have been identified that are vulnerable to not receiving service in a timely fashion, including: rural Americans (especially those outside of population centers); inner city consumers; low-income consumers; minority consumers; and tribal areas.

Finally according to the FCC a regulatory body, there were 2.8 million high-speed speed and advanced services subscribers at the early of 2000. Of those, 1.9 million of these subscribers are residential or small business customers. The FCC also found that 60 percent of the ZIP codes in this country have at least one subscriber to high-speed access services, and 90 percent of the US population lives in those ZIP codes.

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