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will be driven by rich multimedia content
will really happen when companies come together to offer
consumers a convergent solution, from Internet access to
voice, and from entertainment & information, to e-commerce.
Service providers will first have to address key issues
like: content delivery vs. costs
Internet revolution and the advent of 'anytime, anywhere
connectivity' requires today's communication networks to
address performance and architectural requirements like
scalability, robustness, reliability, affordability, manageability,
being future proof etc. Broadband communications offers
all this and can cause a dramatic change in the way we communicate.
The business world has for long had to contend with legacy
business models, legacy technical infrastructures, and legacy
regulations. Fortunately all that is set to change.
The Internet and the World Wide Web will be important drivers
for the broadband market. Innovative and new Internet-based
applications are prompting consumers to go for broadband
access. Typical applications include online shopping and
electronic commerce, both for home and business segments;
Internet telephony, video telephony, entertainment, gaming
(including gambling over the Internet) etc.
Bandwidth has been of critical importance and continues
to play a crucial role in the evolution of broadband
networks. Several factors have caused users, both home and
corporate, to thirst for greater bandwidth.
increased broadband usage, we will see an increase in the
number of diverse 'communities of interest,' both among
individual consumers and also in corporate circles,"
says Bhasker Sharma, CEO, Net Brahma Technologies. "Many
special interest groups are likely to develop Web portals
and participate in e-commerce
transactions. This creates
business opportunities for companies looking to personalise
their marketing. Distance or technological
limitations will no longer divide people and organisations
that share common interests. These communities will use
broadband applications such as streaming audio and video,
and faster data transmission to enrich communication between
But the broadband industry is still nascent, notwithstanding
the widely accepted fact that it would create immense value
in terms of improved products and services. Various issues
relating to technology, standards, regulations, business
consumer value proposition, distribution
etc. still remain foggy. The industry continues to be rattled
by several such issues that have yet to be resolved.
Cable modem seems to have won the war against DSL in the
US, but in India both technologies are being used. The broadband
market in Europe has not grown as fast as expected. The
anticipated impact of the economic slowdown on the broadband
market is likely to focus on large-scale consolidation.
In the United States, broadband access has been developed
and deployed in a series of fits and starts. A number of
potential competing technologies and providers exist. Current
technologies include landline
cable modems/telephony; a myriad of incompatible digital
line services (xDSL), and three fixed wireless technologies,
including multipoint multichannel distribution service (MMDS),
local multipoint distribution service (LMDS) and personal
If you consider Europe, the broadband
market is clearly not growing as fast as many had hoped.
Technologies deployed mainly include a mixture of cable
modems, xDSL, satellite and wireless. Broadband service
providers have been hit hard, primarily due to their dependencies
on established networks.
New players are starting afresh by building and deploying
networks from scratch.
As in Asia, sharp technological divisions exist among players
due to regulatory constraints. The typical telco uses ISDN/DSL,
CATV (cable TV) operators use cable modems and competitive
players use wireless technologies. This pattern is seen
in many countries, including Hong Kong, Malaysia, India
and recently Singapore.
In a later stage of development, technological divisions
are shaped by geography and infrastructure. Players employ
several technologies in their networks, each to serve a
different niche in the market. This has happened in more
mature broadband markets like Korea but is also starting
to occur in the Philippines due to a progressive regulatory
framework. DSL and cable modems are used where PSTN (public
switched telephone networks) and CATV are in place. LMDS
is used in densely populated areas, with little infrastructure
and unwired business districts. Satellite is used to service
rural areas where population densities
are low, such as the peripheral
islands of Taiwan. Once newer technologies are available
in the market, ISDN becomes relatively less important. However,
in poorly developed markets like Malaysia and Indonesia,
ISDN is still the focus of investment and services.
A potential market
is expected to be a prime strategic market for a number
of broadband companies looking at bringing in new technology
aimed at the domestic market," says Bhasker Sharma
of Net Brahma Technologies. "There are many players
on the field, many of the top Indian corporate houses, existing
and new ISP's, telecom and media companies, MNCs etc, are
busy deploying their broadband networks and preparing for
But it will be some time before Broadband actually takes
off here in a big way and we will have to wait to experience
the promised benefits."
Broadband will really happen when companies come together
to offer consumers a convergent solution, from Internet
access to voice, and from entertainment & information,
to e-commerce. Players will have to address several key
issues like: content delivery vs. costs. As various business
models evolve and mature, there is likely to be a flurry
of activities pertaining to the development or destruction
Mergers and acquisitions will be inevitable as companies
rush to adopt the emerging market realities.
But all said and done, Broadband is here to stay and can
revolutionise the communication landscape of today. It's
only a matter of time before things happen in this space.
Mahesh Rathod can be reached at email@example.com