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Friday, August 18, 2006

Once and for all..... fixed broadband will always be faster / better / cheaper than wireless

I still get people trying to convince me that HSDPA, EV-DO, WiMAX or whatever will close the gap between fixed and mobile broadband speeds.

And I still believe it's arrant nonsense. Copper & fibre are cheaper than spectrum, and unless you live somewhere a long way from the nearest exchange or cable headend, they always will be.

In fact, I firmly believe the gap is broadening, not narrowing. And this post from James Enck over at EuroTelcoBlog underlines the point.

Yes, that's €7 per month for symmetrical 30Mbit/s .

Stick that in your 4G pipe and smoke it.

6 comments:

Solnyshok said...

Dear Dean Bubley

I'd like to see you walking around the town with a cable sticking out of (choose your body part here)

Solnyshok

Dean Bubley said...

The reference is to the use of HSDPA etc as a replacement / alternative to wireline broadband, not for mobile access.

Various people refer to wireless broadband access as a viable rival to fixed connections for mainstream residential or business users.

Bottom line - no, it's not, except in niche cases, and nor will it ever be.

Anonymous said...

£40/month for broadband including near-redundant voice-calling line rental.

But I'm already paying for a phone + data connection with a decent data cap on mobile.

Give me >500kbps (HSDPA, good enough for most folks, for just about everything) and I'll cut that £40/month cord quicker than you can say 'more beer/mags/fags'!

Mike

worma said...

Firstly, I pay here (in Finland) around 20 Euro for a 500 kbps connection. I would anyday take a wireless broadband connection of similar speed, if the rates are comparable (as they are soon going to be). So, not everyone needs 10 Mbps. And no, I am not part of niche.

Secondly, when you say -quote- Various people refer to wireless broadband access as a viable rival to fixed connections for mainstream residential or business users.

Bottom line - no, it's not, except in niche cases, and nor will it ever be. -end quote-

Surely you are talking of 'developed markets' only? So, the millions of potential broadband subscribers in developing markets, where even copper lines (forget fiber) have not been laid to majority of houses, represent a 'niche'?

Alex said...

The question is whether people have or will develop the needs for new high bandwidth applications.
E.g. downloading movies (legally or illegally...) becomes really practical only with those new high datarate connections that are only possible with wireline technologies (for a while).

Personally I cannot see signs of saturating bandwidth needs, so I agree with Dean that wireline broadband business will continue to stay ahead of wireless.

However, for developing countries I see a combination more likely to happen: wireless broadband for home connections, and wireline broadband for hotspots (Internet shops).

Anonymous said...

I hear what you say over spectrum costs but despite that, transmitting data through the air is cheaper than though a wire. If fixed costs come down, the cheaper variable costs of wireless data will win through.