Cable is ahead, but DSL is shrinking the lead.
Broadband is coming—fast. Key applications and consumer demand will soon start driving broadband deployment, ensuring that DSL and cable modem subscriptions will hit 35 million by 2005.
In its recent report, “Broadband in the local loop ’00: Applications Driving North American Business,” research firm Forward Concepts argues that greatly enhanced services enabled by broadband, especially for home access and small office-home customers, will keep the DSL-cable horse race at a fast clip.
The enhanced services available will include, among other things: packet voice transmission, e-commerce, Video Conferencing, virtual private networks (VPN), as well as gaming. Increased demand will foster substantial revenue growth by 2005.
The report predicts that the installed base for broadband with cable garnering 60 percent of the consumer market and DSL dominating the SOHO and enterprise markets. For companies with less than 20 people, DSL penetration rates could be in the 40-percent to 50-percent range. Among the businesses with 20-100 people, it could reach 75 percent.
Although cable is currently ahead, DSL will start growing rapidly. Cable’s lead will shrink, but Forward Concepts expects that it will still have more subscribers in 2005, thanks to its strong base in the home market.
E-Marketer shares the view that demand will drive competition between DLS and cable. However, in a recent article, E-Marketer analyst Brian Gilman registers a caveat concerning cable-modem adoption rates.
In order for cable access to become a reality, cable infrastructure must be able to support two-way data traffic, both downstream from the access provider to the individual user and upstream form the individual user back to the provider. In addition to being two-way data enabled, cable systems must be able to support data flow at a speed of at least 550 MHz.
Actual cable modem subscribers will represent a very small percentage of houses equipped for the service. By 2003 E-Marketer estimates 9.78 million cable-modem subscribers, a number close to Forward Concept’s. But in the context of the 73.2 million cable modem-ready homes (as estimated by Goldman Sachs), this will be only a 13.2-percent market share.
In most market, places Cable and DSL are cheaper for you when considering if you must add a 2nd phone for your computer or having two or more systems trying to use the Internet at the same time. Cable and DSL subscriptions include the provider service with the Fast Internet connection. With Windows 98 2nd edition networking two or more computers is now very easy using (MS Internet Connection Sharing) that is included on the CD.