Telcos should not offer customers a super-fast broadband connection if the speed levels are inconsistent and degrade, a new survey has warned.
If telcos do not offer quality service it will result in customer frustration at the failure of applications such as video on-demand to perform to expectations. This will hold back broadband development, argues the report, carried out by market analyst Point Topic for the DSL Forum.
The study claimed that current bandwidths of 2Mbps or less are sufficient to handle current mainstream broadband applications.
Tim Johnson, publisher at Point Topic, told vnunet.com: "For around 95 per cent of broadband users, 500kbps is plenty. But what is the point of having a whizzo, high-speed data rate if it comes and goes?
"Say you are trying to watch a football game - the experience is lessened if you have too much delay and jitter because the bandwidth can't be maintained.
"Internet service providers [ISPs] must begin to invest in added capacity and functionality within the core network rather than on extra bandwidth on the access lines."
Higher service levels will be essential to prevent degradation of services as future broadband applications come online and as more people sign up, added Johnson.
Part of the solution, he said, would involve ISPs biting the bullet and being prepared to cap some services or bring in different pricing models.
But ISPs appear by and large to be unconcerned. Bill Goodland, director of internet for NTL, which has introduced capping, insisted that service levels were fine.
"Most ISPs have learned how to manage capacity effectively, and at certain times know traffic will be heavier and can cope with this," he said.
He also cast doubt on the popularity of different pricing options.
"We could introduce fiendishly complicated pricing mechanisms but most consumers like the flat rates offered, so different pricing models are not popular."
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