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Broadband Usage Up 42% In The U.S. In 2003 322

Kickassthegreat writes "As reported here by Reuters, broadband usage in the U.S. jumped 42 percent in 2003 as compared to 2002. As more people sign on to high-speed access, how long will it be before we start seeing the cable companies (such as Comcast) start dropping their prices to levels which compete directly with dial-up?"
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Broadband Usage Up 42% In The U.S. In 2003

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  • Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:18AM (#9385505)
    Never. Just like CDs are still more expensive than tapes.
    • Re:Answer (Score:5, Funny)

      by nocomment ( 239368 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:52AM (#9385632) Homepage Journal
      not quite, comcast will give you $19.99/mo if you call every month to cancel. :-)
      • I do not care to go through my long story about my Comcast experience. To make a long story short, I have to contact the Governor or New Jersey and the Public Utility Commision to get resolution. But, you can only get that 19.99 rate if you cancel service for 6 months and then come back.
      • But you still have to have Cable TV (+$20) which keeps the cost right at $40. If I only had to pay $19.99 without the cable tax I would be happy.

        Stupid Comcast.
        • Re:Answer (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dup_account ( 469516 )
          Yep, my price is less if I have the basic cable/broadband that if i have just broadband. Isn't that illegal monopolist bundling?
    • Re:Answer (Score:2, Insightful)

      by atheken ( 621980 )
      agreed. 1) They know they can charge $40-ish a month, and get it. 2) Dial-up actually has competition, in most locales, cable has (maybe) one or two competitors, if you're lucky. In a lot of cases, your choice is them, or nobody.
    • Re:Answer (Score:4, Funny)

      by geek42 ( 592158 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:43AM (#9385844)
      Silly rabbit, 42% is The Answer! It's the % we'd been missing all along...
    • I agree with never, why would/should tehy from a business point of view, if subscription is up and looks like it will continue to go up they'd be stupid to lower the price, what I see is dial up lowering it's price maybe, but not broadband.
    • Exactly. Never.

      They have the taste of money now... They're addicted.

    • Easy killer. Never? Come on.

      Eventually, the majority of dial-up providers are going to go out of business as new houses are built without POTS and people start ditching their old telephone service. Everyone will be switching over to broadband and cellular, if not something else, maybe VoIP.

      In either some point, the demand for dial-up Internet will be so small, its price will skyrocket to much higher than broadband.

    • Actually I believe that tapes are so rare nowadays they probably are more expensive than CDs.
  • by Chmcginn ( 201645 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:19AM (#9385510) Journal
    the RIAA drops the prices on CD's to compete directly with cassette tapes.
  • What is in a name? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by deutschemonte ( 764566 ) <lane.montgomery@ g m> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:21AM (#9385513) Homepage
    It would be nice to know what they took as "broadband" speed. I know that the speeds of broadband in Japan are blinding compared to what we have in the U.S.

    If they raised their standards perhaps we would see quite a different deployment figure.
  • Haha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrisgeleven ( 514645 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:21AM (#9385514) Homepage
    You forgot the golden rule of monopolies. The more customers, the higher the prices!
    • Re:Haha (Score:3, Insightful)

      If the satellite TV players were not eating Cable's lunch, we might have seen some latitude in the broadband price offerings ("Subscribe NOW to HBO and Showtime for 2 years and get half-price Broadband!!"). But... since the only services cable offers which are not technologically trumped by Dish and DirecTV are broadband access and VOD, there is little chance IMO the wire guys will ease prices in either of those areas soon. They will, however, continue to use a "price break" in their broadband ratecard for
      • Re:Haha (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Paulrothrock ( 685079 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:32AM (#9385804) Homepage Journal
        When they start building satellite TV systems that don't need multiple horns on the dish for multiple TVs, and TVs with sattelite TV receivers built in, and you're not charged an extra fee for hooking up another TV yourself, *THEN* satellite will have an advantage.

        Right now I can run to Radio Shack and pick up a $3 splitter and $5 of CATV cable and let my fiance's little brother watch TV in his own room in about a half hour. Can't do that with satellite!

        • Were I am at the cable company is switching channels to digital cable one by one and you cannot get them unless you rent their box. BTW, digital cable here is nearly $100/month (it's the top package).
        • Re:Haha (Score:4, Informative)

          by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @10:37AM (#9386973) Homepage Journal
          systems that don't need multiple horns on the dish

          My current dish has two horns, one for each satellite that it tracks (not one per TV as you state). Later this month, I'm getting a free upgrade to a dish with three horns so that I can receive local channels which are broadcast from a different satellite than the two I'm currently tracking. The dish is the exact same size and looks almost identical. It's not like I'm suddenly getting a 50%-bigger dish on the outside of my house.

          sattelite TV receivers built in

          Here's the deal: analog cable is dying, and dying quickly. So let's ask a parallel question: what TV's have digital cable receivers built in?

          you're not charged an extra fee for hooking up another TV yourself

          Right now, Dish Network will install up to three extra receivers for an additional $5 per month. How much do you pay for three extra digital cable receivers?

          Right now I can run to Radio Shack and pick up a $3 splitter and $5 of CATV cable and let my fiance's little brother watch TV in his own room in about a half hour.

          You're right - today. The same probably won't be true next year. For example, I don't think I even have the option of getting analog cable now even if I wanted it. My choices are digital cable and digital satellite. Both have similar advantages and disadvantages, but the latter is much cheaper for the viewing package I want.

    • Good Point But... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by unixbugs ( 654234 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:14AM (#9385715)
      I worked in that industry long enough to know that the costs of converting and mainting broadband capable communications lines are higher than the profits involved on a year to year basis. Sometimes the price of the bandwidth is justified, particularly in areas where the means and measures taken to upgrade exisiting system outwieghs the short term benefits of marketing and information gathering/selling. That IS what its about you know.

      What do you think your digital cable box with 1000's of channels does all damn day with that bandwidth? Set up spam from China? Wouldn't suprise me much to be honest.

      Dialup sucks ass. It's only used by those who can't get Fiber To The County or so, for the most part. I remember one customer yelling at me years ago because a sales rep said I'd go out there and install a cable modem and internet setup even though he lived some 10 miles from the nearest fiber optic node and didnt even have hard line ran near his zip code. He had a phone though. Imagine the trouble I'd got in for suggesting that he go through a competitor to get dialup.

      Thats just a small testament to how lucrative that market is. They need every penny they can get and there is a huge job market for fiber splicers and installers alike. Problems only arise when there is only one company offering broadband in a given location. For years in mine we saw ads like "Time Warner Cable - Your Only Choice" with a big fuckin smile across it on bus stops and billboards.

      There are of course the huge issues of how that bandwidth is used. Ideally we wouldn't NEED all that expensive head end multiplexing with GW/hr power consumption if there was not:
      1. spam
      2. media pirating
      3. worm ridden windows boxes
      This is where a large part of the cost seems to emanate. The ISP doesn't even really care about how much you DOWNLOAD, its what you UPLOAD, and 2 of the 3 above are good examples of what problems should be dealt with first. I know you gotta upload it to download it guys but usually people who upload aren't real concerned that its going to cut into thier 56k modems QoS capabilities.

      It seems here we find the core of many many issues present in today's communications' agendas.

      • Problems only arise when there is only one company offering broadband in a given location.

        And that often seems to be the case.

        I remember years ago when cable infrastructure was being put in and cable companies would negotiate exclusive contracts with communities to provide cable service.

        On the surface, it was a good and necessary thing: you didn't want multiple cable companies building parallel lines all over the place (remember the 19th century railroads building tracks parallel to one another?) and t

  • Lower prices ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    yeah just like we see lower prices at the petrol pumps when the price of oil drops

    companies are so desperate to make money, you really think they will drop the price when they can increase ROI for no extra investment at all !

    never underestimate greed, especially in USA
    • Re:Lower prices ? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by aurispector ( 530273 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:03AM (#9385679)
      Look, the whole POINT is to make money. Why else would these companies exist? Philanthropy? How do YOU make a living? You're right when you say that they won't cut prices without reason. That's what competition in a free market is supposed to control; when some other company provides a comparable service at a lower price you'll see them cut prices. Unfortunately, because of the way cable is regulated in my state, cable companies enjoy vitual monopolies in cable service but DSL does put pressure on their ISP business.

      The problem with cable ISP's and oil companies isn't greed, it's lack of real competition.
      • Unfortunately, there is no competition. In my area, there's 512K DSL or 3Mb cable or 56k dialup.

        The cost of entry into the broadband market is extremely high, meaning that the big markets are going to have the options first, because the ROI is there. Unless I take action to create a township-wide FTTH system, I'll be using Comcast until I move somewhere else, even though their service sucks and their Macintosh support is non-existant.

      • Here Here!

        I once lived in a market with two cable companies, both which provided high speed internet service to my town. It was awesome having a choice. Alas, Boston was one of the few markets that have this available. (RCN and ComCast)

        Competition is beautiful. That's why I love the movement away from landlines and towards cellular phones. Cellular companies aren't regulated all to hell like the local telcos are. I can have verizon, cingular, t-mobile, sprint, at&t... its awesome having a choice. and
    • Re:Lower prices ? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Azghoul ( 25786 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:13AM (#9385711) Homepage
      Wait... you mean you don't see lower gas prices when the price of oil drops?

      Uhhhh. Yeah you do. You just don't see it the same damn day. It takes time to get oil through refineries and pushed out to individual stations. But the price certainly does (and will again) go down.

      This isn't insightful, it's wrong. The people here suggesting prices won't go down because they're already getting 43% growth are correct.
      • Re:Lower prices ? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by SirGeek ( 120712 ) <sirgeek-slashdot ... rg minus physici> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:19AM (#9385740) Homepage
        Wait... you mean you don't see lower gas prices when the price of oil drops?

        Uhhhh. Yeah you do. You just don't see it the same damn day. It takes time to get oil through refineries and pushed out to individual stations. But the price certainly does (and will again) go down.

        Then why is it that the minute the oil prices rise, the gas stations immediately raise their prices ( as if the cost of the fuel in their tanks went up instantly ).

        • Okay, this just isn't true. If every gas station did this, then you (or I) could open up a new gas station and charge "reasonable" prices. Every minute the oil prices rise everyone would raise their price 15 cents/gallon, and you could continue charging a reasonable price (that is 10 cents/gallon cheaper than everyone else). You'll get a LOT more customers (especially over time), and therefore make money. Eventually the customers will catch on and come to you more often.

          Why doesn't this happen? Becau

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:22AM (#9385517)
    As soon as enough people have broadband you can be damn sure ISP's will start introducing draconian bandwidth limits.
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 59Bassman ( 749855 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:22AM (#9385518) Journal
    If broadband useage is jumping like crazy, why would Comcast even consider lowering prices for access?

    "Well Mr. Jones, I know that people are signing up in droves, and many of our markets are over-capacity which is requiring us to upgrade our local services. But I thought it would be nice if we cut the price 75% to compete with AOL's dial-up."

    Not in this lifetime, I'm thinking.

  • Comcast's Prices (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:22AM (#9385520) Journal
    Comcast has special introductory offers of $20/month to compete directly with dial-up. It wouldn't make sense for them to drop the price to $20 as it would eliminate their profit margin. They're providing about 100 times the bandwidth of dialup for only twice the price and you complain about value?

    If you think broadband is expensive, look at the rest of your cable bill.
    • Re:Comcast's Prices (Score:4, Interesting)

      by override11 ( 516715 ) <> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:33AM (#9385555) Homepage
      Yes, but try to gte JUST cable internet and no cable TV. The comcast rep told me that just for internet, it would be 60 bucks. Thats bull shit, I remember paying AT&T 29.99 for cable, and that was perfect. Now, 3 years and about 5 price hikes later, I am dropping service. Waiting for DSL to hit my street...
      • Try getting DSL without having a landline. They do the exact same thing. There's a cost for the bandwidth, and cost for keeping up the lines and such. If you're just using internet, it makes sense that they'd want to charge you a little more.
      • Cable prices (Score:5, Informative)

        by I_am_Rambi ( 536614 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:05AM (#9385681) Homepage
        I've done some research.

        2nd phone line: $20-$30/month
        Year subscription to aol: $20/month (if paid in one lump sum $25ish otherwise)
        Total: $40-$55/month connection slow (22.x-56k/s)

        Cable Internet: $45/month (after entry rates)
        Total cost: $45/month (initial setup may cost about $100) speed: Great for home (on average 200-350k/s)

        As more people need the internet in a home and as the number of computers increase in the same home, the cost of cable is much better than the cost of dialup.
        • this analysis doesnt work... i've used it several times myself whenever anyone with AOL asks me about the cost of broadband. they always assume you need "AOL for Broadband" in order to use broadband which adds another $10 a month or they "really NEED their AOL mail"

          its like arguing with a 5 year old.... tell them it cost money and to ask you again when they are willing to spend more on internet access.
      • Re:Comcast's Prices (Score:5, Interesting)

        by beacher ( 82033 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:10AM (#9385701) Homepage
        Price it both ways - Comcast High Speed Internet Only (No basic cable TV) and High Speed Internet with Basic TV. I think the price is about $1 off. They can't filter out the TV signal, they know you're going to figure it out, so they're charging you for basic cable regardless.

        Check it out for yourself
        • Re:Comcast's Prices (Score:4, Informative)

          by kannibal_klown ( 531544 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:51AM (#9385900)
          Yes, they can filter it out on the tower, but it's a pain. They have to find your wire and put a special splitter, but sometimes the technicianns forget or don't bother. The problem is, when they occassionally send guys out to see who's pirating the cable (non-payers with lines running to the house), they also check for the filters.

          There was a news story about a year or 2 back about a guy that wanted Cable Internet, but not TV. The tech forgot to put in the filter, and said he'd be back in a few weeks to do it.

          The guy wound up getting fined and brought to court for "stealing cable." It took MONTHS and a lot of lawyer fees to get it rectified.

          I wish I still had the link to the story. But I reformatted my PC since then.

          In any case, it's possible to filter it out. It just depends what kind of person your technician is that sets you up.
  • by DirkDaring ( 91233 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:22AM (#9385521)
    "As more people sign on to high-speed access, how long will it be before we start seeing the cable companies (such as Comcast) start dropping their prices to levels which compete directly with dial-up?"

    Why would they? More people are signing up to these cable companies (such as Comcast) daily. Why compete with dial-up when people are migrating from dialup?
    • I can answer when it can happen, but I've got no idea if this is the case now:

      You may drop prices when there's heavy sign-ups if you're about to hit the "mass market" and is currently scratching the surface. Here I know many people have changed to broadband + cell phone (or just cell phone), no landline. With VoIP traditional dial-up might be obsolete.

      The point is, if you can drop prices to compete with dial-up, you're suddenly also reaching a market that isn't really that interested in actually *using* t
  • by emorphien ( 770500 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:23AM (#9385522)
    Damn if I know when Comcast will drop their prices but damn they're expensive!

    I've had three broadband connections (that I've actually payed for). DSL at home in NJ which has good pings but wasn't high bandwidth, Time Warner RR cable in Rochester which was pretty good in both respects, and now Comcast in Boston. If someone had told me in advance that my Comcast connection would be 9Mbits/second I'd be less irritated with their absurd fees.

    Damn bastards usually want $60 a month plus all kinds of installation fees and shit. Fortunately I'm getting it for $20 a month for 3 months, and that's as long as I need it. But in the end their customer service still blows chunks.

    What gets me is that in different regions around the US the same service can vary in price by $30 dollars. DSL in some places is $30 a month and in others it can go as high as $60, for the same speed! And I'm not even referring to people who live out in the boonies who may have to pay a premium which is somewhat understandable.
    • Why do some gas stations in the middle of nowhere charge $0.25 per gallon more than gas stations near cities or in a large cluster of stations near an overpass? Simple - because they can. Now I'm no fan of Comcast, but if they're the only major high-speed player in a market, they can set the price. If TimeWarner moves in, they have to cut prices. Supply and demand, no different than any other commodity product.
      • by AWhistler ( 597388 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:39AM (#9385578)
        I don't know what part of the country you are in, but around here, it's Adelphia or nothing. There is no cable competition. The only competition for cable is satellite, and just try to get broadband there for a lower price. The only broadband competition in my area is wireless, and I'm sure the price for cable and wireless (not to be confused with Cable and Wireless) would be more than what I pay now.

        There isn't competition not because nobody is interested in competing, but because that is how the "utility" is regulated. Just like there is Verizon or nothing for telephone here. Oh, and Verizon hasn't decided to run DSL out to my area since we're too far from the CO, even though we are the largest town in the county.

        So, since Adelphia is the only major high-speed player in this market, they are setting the price.
    • Holy crapping crickets

      Damn if I know... ...damn they're expensive!

      Damn bastards... ...all kinds of installation fees and shit. ...customer service still blows chunks.

      Thank you, Andrew Dice Clay, for commenting on Comcast's service.
  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:23AM (#9385526)
    how long will it be before we start seeing the cable companies (such as Comcast) start dropping their prices to levels which compete directly with dial-up?"

    When the companies stop seeing 43% growth. People obviously like the broadband at current prices. If you have a hot product, why lower the price? When growth stagnates, then the companies will start gettng aggressive -- adding services or reducing prices to either make new customers or steal customers from rivals.

    In the long run, doubt that broadband will ever be the same price as dial-up because it both costs more and is more valuable to customers.
  • Pricing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blenderking ( 324269 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:24AM (#9385532) Homepage
    There's no pressure for Comcast et al to lower prices. Right now, they simply need to show up and in many areas (like mine) DSL isn't available.

    It'll happen, as the market saturates and competition finds a way to penetrate the markets. Also, as additional services come up (perhaps like Comcast offering VOIP) they'll probably come up with package deals to make the combo very attractive.
  • A long time... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WIAKywbfatw ( 307557 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:25AM (#9385538) Journal
    First of all the cable companies will want to recoup their investment. Then they'll want to make a profit.

    The only thing that will drive down prices is direct competition and, as I understand it, cable companies don't have a great deal of overlap. Now, if you were able to pick from half a dozen plus companies to provide broadband connectivity to your home (just as you're able to pick literally dozens of companies to provide narrowband connectivity to your home), then you'd have some active competition between companies, which would lead lower prices. But in a market where you're options are limited to one, two, maybe three companies tops then you're unlikely to see any really aggressive pricing.

    And that's before you even start talking about what sort of value people attach to having broadband. If 19 out of 20 people have an expectation that broadband will cost $40/month then that's what it will cost. The fact that the last person in that group wouldn't pay more than $35/month for the service is irrelevant.
  • Ruralites again are scorned by the lack of broadband access where there are no cable lines (and since there are no cable lines, this often means no dsl due to distance, or just no dsl providers [or both as in my case]).

    WHen will broadband companies truly serve the populace by providing broadband capability to all, not just the city folk?

    • Forget about cable companies in the rural areas, in most cases its not gonna happen. There are two things you can _try_ first go bug your local telephone company about when they are going to deploy DSL in your area if that answer doesn't suit you, you may have to use a satellite based service. The satellite broadband systems are great for some kinds of users, but certainly not all. Latency from going up to the satellite and back kills many games, I'm not talking about Pogo, but trying playing UT2004 acro
    • by RobinH ( 124750 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:44AM (#9385603) Homepage
      WHen will broadband companies truly serve the populace by providing broadband capability to all, not just the city folk?

      Probably when they won't have to lose excessive amounts of money to lay the cable to do it. I think your only realistic hope way out of town is to go with satellite or long range WiFi service.

      If you want all the services of the city, why don't you move to the city? I grew up in a rural area, and we just understood that it's a tradeoff. You don't get curbs and gutters, sewers, city water supplies, cable, etc., but you do get lower crime rates, less pollution, and a better sense of community.
    • Many rural communities (including one near me) have solved the problem by creating their own broadband ISP, run by the government. Using Fiber-optics, they let everyone in town who can afford $15 per month get a 10Mb symmetrical data service with static IP. More info here. []

      I'm planning on doing this for my suburban township and giggling as Comcast craps themselves watching everyone switch to a cheaper, better service. Internet access should be like public transportation; easily available at a reasonable pri

    • WHen will broadband companies truly serve the populace by providing broadband capability to all, not just the city folk?

      When they find a cheaper way of installing the infrastructure?

      Laying cable isn't cheap, especially when you don't have a lot of costumers per mile of cable. Heck, out my way Adelphia will gladly install cable to most anyone, but they charge between $17,000 and $21,000 per mile of cable to install it (hey, they are inflating this value, badly, but even if they charged reasonable rates

  • by night_flyer ( 453866 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:33AM (#9385556) Homepage
    why would they want to lower prices? Its obvious that people will pay for it at the level it is right now...
  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <gterich AT aol DOT com> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:34AM (#9385560) Journal
    As technology develops, DSL will be available over longer and longer distances. Currently, you can manage a 192kb DSL line over about 21000 feet, if I am not mistaken (which I might be, but these numbers feel about right). I wouldn't be surprised to see that number double in the next few years. Also, as WiFi stuff gets so ridiculously cheap, all that would be necessary would be to put a repeater on every few power poles and voila, rural internet access.
  • Comcast recently boosted my download speed from 1.5 Mb/s to 3 Mb/s without raising the monthly fee. Of course I would love to pay less, but right now I'm happy paying the $40 or so for that kind of speed.
  • Aha! (Score:4, Funny)

    by spellraiser ( 764337 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:39AM (#9385576) Journal

    So that's what the question was!

    'By how many percentile points will US Broadband usage increase in 2003?'

  • I would like it if this would happen in countires other than the US, since out here in Australia, there is broadband which competes with dialup in a price perspective, at AU$29.95/month, but only has 200MB limits (hard limit, not a bandwidth throttled limit). What I would like to see is not an overall price drop, but an increase in usability (ie. not a download limit which can be used up in one night)
  • The question is, when will METERED broadband access be in place? Probably when no-one uses dial up any more, although with reference to the last article, we (UK) may be paying for phonecalls by the MB by then anyway.
  • Drop their prices?!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by krygny ( 473134 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:42AM (#9385589)

    Cable companies will never drop their prices until we start seeing small neighborhood WiFi ISPs as described by Bob Cringely in his past two PBS columns []. I've thought about this for a few years now but, alas, I'm no entrepreneur.

    But drop their prices to compete with dial-up? They don't even need to drop their prices to compete with DSL. Where I live, Cablevision gives me speeds of 5 Mbps down and 900 kbps up for $40/mo (with TV service; $50/mo a la carte). Verizon DSL is $50/mo and the best speed would be 625 kbps down. Cablevision could raise their price to $60, $70 per month; you name it; and my only alternative would be a dog slow DSL or dial-up connection.

    I'm hooked on the fat pipe and they know it.

  • Compare that to Australia...

    Australia, the Broadband backwater []

  • Blah (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dennism ( 13667 )

    As more people sign on to high-speed access, how long will it be before we start seeing the cable companies (such as Comcast) start dropping their prices to levels which compete directly with dial-up?

    Perhaps when the growth rate slows down? Seems like they don't have much to gain at the moment by dropping their prices. Of course, by the time their growth rate slows, they might have killed off all of their dial-up competitors.

  • Competition (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thyamine ( 531612 ) <thyamine.ofdragons@com> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:44AM (#9385605) Homepage Journal
    It all depends how much competition the government will allow amongst broadband providers. Not so much DSL and Cable which already are competetors, but allowing or requiring cable to allow other companies in.

    Plus you have other technologies trying to become involved such as broadband over electric lines. Anything that may actually drive consumers to another company will drive prices more competitively, otherwise we're looking at high prices for a while.
  • by RKone2 ( 720851 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:44AM (#9385607)
    In my area, we've had high-speed cable internet available for 7 years, and DSL the last 4 years.

    Both DSL and Cable have been increasing their bandwidth to compete with each other, Cable just changed to 5mbit/s, DSL is 4mbit/s. Pricing has remained relatively flat, about $40can/month for both services. However recently Bell has been forced to share their lines, as a result, 4mbit DSL can be found for as low as $30/month.
  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:45AM (#9385610)
    In Belgium the percentage of people who have ADSL or cable is pretty high, compared to dialup. At this moment 15,4% marketpenetration for ADSL. 4th world wide.

    The main reason might be the monopoly position of Belgacom, the main Telecomoperator. They dictate prices between cariers and abuse their monopoly in every way they like.

    Because of that there are so many ADSL and cable subscribers. So here is the proove that a monopoly IS good for the customer. Uh, wait. That can't be right.

  • In canada, the price for high speed is already quite comparable with dial-up. For about $25 dollars a month, you can get high speed light, which is about 5 times faster then dial-up, more than enough for most people, and you don't have to tie up your phone line. This is competitive to big dial-ups like AOL, but quite a lot more than getting it off discount ones like Net-Zero.
  • by andy1307 ( 656570 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:48AM (#9385619)
    Most broadband providers are monopolies in the markets they operate in. They have no reason to drop their prices. They'll only drop prices if there is an alternative technology like WiMax or something. It's just like your local phone monopoly. They'll only drop their prices when they see VoIP taking customers away from them.

    It's more likely that broadband companies will try to takeover other broadband companies or big media companies(Comcast/Disney). To increase revenue, they will need to bundle services. Maybe they'll start offering VoIP phone services at less than what the phone company charges. If you paid 55$ for your cable internet service and 55$ for your phone service, they'll sell you a "bundle": internet service + phone service at 90$.

  • by peterdaly ( 123554 ) <<moc.mocten.xi> <ta> <yladetep>> on Thursday June 10, 2004 @07:50AM (#9385628)
    The phone companies were a day late and a dollar short in rolling out DSL. Time Warner came out with Road Runners years before the phone company would sell DSL for residential use.

    In the years between the Road Runner roll out and the start of DSL roll-out, everyone that wanted broadband signed up for a cable modem. So (very) recently, Verizon started trying to roll out DSL and guess what; most of their potential market no longer needed their service, as their Cable modem was great. The residential DSL around here seems to have taken the lower bandwidth, lower price and cable, but still faster than dial-up approach.

    Where as Time Warner only needed to announce they could deliver broadband to get potential customers (literally) calling them begging for service, DSL providers are begging for customers to sign up.

    DSL is dropping prices (and bandwith.) Cable just raised their rates ($5) and doubled the speed of their pipe and modem connections.

    Ma' Bell missed the boat big time. The slashdot summary talks about lowering rates. That's only the ugly step-sister. Cable prices (and service) are going up where I live.

  • I know people who pay us$26/month for dial up. What a joke.

    At least here, you can get 512Kbps/128Kbps residential DSL for us$21/month.

  • by Monsieur Canard ( 766354 ) * on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:03AM (#9385678)
    While I applaud our broadband overlords, I do take issue with the high cost. For me, broadband through Comcast is the only option. I expect to see Dick Cheney join before I expect DSL in my neck of the woods. The local power company just started providing cable TV and theoretically will provide broadband within a year or two, but I'm not holding my breath. Right now I'm averaging $45 a month for HSI and that's insane.

    My other problem with Comcast is their spotty CS. We here in Connecticut just went through a weekend of 50% packet losses and unexplained disconnects. Calls to Comcast resulted in suggestions to power cycle my modem. The problem was obviouisly my fault even though the top thread over at was about widespread problems in my state. The patronizing ignorance of most of their alleges techs was astounding.
  • by pointbeing ( 701902 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:05AM (#9385685)
    Just my $0.02 -

    Infrastructure costs to the ISP are several times higher for cable than dialup or DSL. Also, there's value to the customer in providing faster connections.

    That said, after watching my third web host lose data for me (yes, they said they did daily backups and I believed them) I decided to host my own domain, pitched my cable modem and found a provider that gave me a 768k SDSL pipe for the same price as my cable modem.

    Comcast's pipe is four times as fast downstream but my pipe is considerably faster upstream - fast enough for me to host my own web and mail and pitch the web host. My DSL provider gives me a synchronous connection for $45 a month and doesn't care if I run a server as long as I don't exceed his rather generous bandwidth allocation. For me it was a win-win situation.

    If the market will bear higher prices I guess it's reasonable to expect people to charge higher prices. Sad, but true.

  • What, you guys still have dialup ? :)
  • Looks like the situation in the USA is worse than here, I live in israel and we pay between 120 and 180NIS (1 US$ = 4.5 NIS) for 1.5MBit download and 96KBit upload ADSL, dynamic IP (I prefer it that way), no bandwidth limit (I filled an 80GB hard drive in a week or so) and decent customer service, well actually the customer service is great, the only problem is that you gotta wait on the line for like 20 minutes before getting to talk to someone, but after that, I've yet to encounter a dumb customer service
  • by Shinobi ( 19308 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:13AM (#9385710)
    When I see US people talk about the cost of their broadband, I'm always shocked. Sure, we have some providers that are sub-par, but right now, I've got Bredbandsbolaget ADSL2+, offering up to 24Mb/s downstream and 1Mb/s upstream(I've reached around 22Mb/s down at most right now), no bandwidth cap, and I can host a non-profit, non-commercial server, and it costs around 45-48/month.

    • Nice try, but Japan has _density_ which means economics of scale, thus high bandwidth is cheap and easy to offer. I lived in Australia for a while, DSL was expensive and restricted: now I live in London UK, DSL is relatively affordable, but speeds are not great (e.g. max 2mbps).

      However, it's nice for us techies to talk about high speeds, but for the "web browsing masses", these speeds are reasonably acceptable for surfing, downloading and streaming. The other "mass market" for high bandwidth are online gam
  • Well, there's an old saying, "You get what you pay for."

    As long as broadband is a higher valued service, the price will reflect that. If an emerging technology becomes a disruptive technology, then the price wil go down.

    Besides, broadband is a big fat cash cow giving lots of milk to fund the expanding infrastructure needs for the providers. It's also lining their pockets a bit. I doubt the price will go down but I do think it might get jacked up if nobody's watching. Utility companies love to pull that
  • So much talk about cable modems, and no mention of DSL. I'm in a somewhat "backwater" area as far as broadband is concerned, and have been hopping between different technologies as they become available in my area, including dial-up, MVL, cable, and now DSL.

    I'm thankful to say that DSL prices are starting to become competative. My first DSL line (McLeodUSA) is $140/mo for 768/768 with a few static IPs. Qwest has been offering DSL in this area for over a year, but offering lower speeds (256/512) for high
  • As more people sign on to high-speed access, how long will it be before we start seeing the cable companies (such as Comcast) start dropping their prices to levels which compete directly with dial-up?

    You won't. Cable companies are legally mandated monopolies. They control the cable leading into your house. There is no meaningful competion for service and price as with the dialup providers. Prices are high. >$40 for basic cable TV, >$40 for IP. Until the monopoly is broken, as with the phone sys

  • If anything, rates will increase over time. Comcast has had an introductory offer where you pay $20 for 6 months, $30 for 3 months, then $40 for the remainder of the year.

    That was enough incentive for me to sign up. I have been on dialup since the early 90's, and I must say.. 21.95/month for Earthlink dialup, Vs. 3.5mb cable for $39.95/month? I mean, figure that one out. Who in their right mind would choose the dialup?

    I love the fact that more people are getting broadband. That just sets the stag
  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @08:45AM (#9385857)
    Or does anybody believe there is another killer-app for broadband? All the broadband providers need filesharing to grow.

    What I am waiting for is when the RIAA finally starts to impact broadband profits. I think by then broadband will be several times more important than the whole music and film business. Some people might find themselves between a rock and a hard place...
    • How about gaming? There is no way a "hard core" gamer is going to want to play online games on dialup.
    • Telephony.. once all thus VoIP taxation/regulation stuff gets worked out.

      Video conferencing: This has been promised for so long it isn't funny, ubiquitous BB makes it possible

      Video on Demand: Downloading fill length movies to watch as you please or watching them streamed real-time.

      Advertising: adverts will take new forms and find new ways in to our homes via out Internet connections.

      I think that the bandwidth used by any of these will dwarf the bandwidth used by pirates or file sharers.
  • Technical Support for dumbass L-Users who should have never bought a computer to begin with - is much more expensive. They tend to stay in the dialup plans because they can't justify the cost of broadband. $10/month dialup plans exist for limited Internet usage. That's pretty cheap, and still gives you 10 hours / month for email and what not. Broadband is cheap - but not going to get cheaper. You'll see speed increases before you'll see prices drop. Example, charter's kick to 3Meg service. My DSL company
  • We were paying $20/mo for dialup, plus $25/mo for the dedicated phone line. We're now paying $40/mo for 1.5M/256K cable.

    I'm assuming you mean for the "casual user" who doesn't currently have a dedicated line. RSN, I think.
  • by digitalgimpus ( 468277 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @09:16AM (#9386066) Homepage
    There several reasons why prices won't drop anytime soon:

    - Networks expanding. Broadband means more bandwidth per customer. As more people use it, more websites get bulked up for broadband... more bandwidth used... more capacity needed.... then faster networks needed... websites bulk up more... cyclical

    - Limited networks in competition. Most people don't have much broadband choice. Theres either cable (one provider), or DSL (if your lucky enough to live in DSL's short range).... soon power companies will join in, but the technology is still up in the air... and it's not cheap to implement, so I'd expect power companies in rural areas may jump in, but in areas where cable/dsl penetrated... doubt it. Most people have 1 broadband option. Lucky people have 2. Satellite is way to expensive for most people.

    - It's a package deal. Cable networks sell packages. That's how they operate. Not ala Cart. They like to do services as well. That's why you have basic cable, premimum cable, sports packages, digital cable, HD TV packages, broadband packages etc. That's the business plan.
  • Compete with Dialup? (Score:3, Informative)

    by LilMikey ( 615759 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @09:31AM (#9386176) Homepage
    Prices here in the midwest are already approching that level. I believe the cheapest DSL plan here runs about $27, just slightly above what AOL charges. If you're not getting that rate, call em up and they'll adjust your payments (although you may have to renew your contract).
  • by zerofoo ( 262795 ) on Thursday June 10, 2004 @01:49PM (#9389672)
    "Wired" broadband providers will lower prices when there is a viable widespread competitor. That competitor will be the cellular network.

    Think about it: The network has vast coverage, laptop market growth has outpaced the desktop market now for 3 years, and most people hooking up broadband at home want some type of wireless access. Verizon will provide a theoretical peak of 2 to 3 Mbps (with most people seeing around 512kbps).

    Sure, wired access will always be faster, but for most people I know, wireless high-speed access anywhere you've got cellular coverage is a much better product (and the speed is good enough). I'll never get rid of my 10Mbps down 1Mbps up cablevision connection, but I know tons of people who would for Verizon's new product.

    It's being tested in San Diego, CA and Washington, DC. It will probably roll out in the next year.


God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"