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Broadband Speed to Rise whilst Broadband Subscriber Numbers to Slow: [13th Jan 2011]

Recent statistics from In-Stat have shown that the worldwide subscriber rate of broadband is likely to slow down over the next four years. The report shows that the number of consumers and businesses with broadband increased to 763 million in 2010, following 25% growth in both 2007 and 2009. However it has been estimated that this growth will drop back to just 10% between 2011 and 2014. It is thought that this is due to a saturation of the market. However some parts of the world still have room for improvement. The Asia pacific region in particular will continue to see growth along with Latin America and the Middle east.


Mobile manufacturer Ericsson has estimated that mobile broadband subscriptions have already reached the half a billion mark worldwide. They also expect that this figure will double by the end of this year. It is thought that Asia will lead the way, followed by the United States and Europe. Furthermore they believe that 3.8 billion users will be subscribed to mobile broadband by 2015.


The FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has commented that US global leadership in wireless innovation is being threatened by the consumer demand for the US available spectrum. He has said that making further spectrum available is essential and that it needs to be tackled sooner rather than later. The FCC is hoping to re-purpose 120 MegaHertz of spectrum via auctions from television broadcasters however congress needs to give the FCC authority before this can happen. The National Association of Broadcasters has said that it has nothing against voluntary auctions as long as it does not impact on free local television. Genochowski has said that he is not sure if congress will vote in favor of the auctions.


It is thought that the FCC will ask that one of the conditions of the Comcast and NBC union is that they unbundle their data service. This would force Comcast to offer cable modem service as a stand alone product and without requiring customers to purchase video or voice services. This could open up residential use of over the top video content and video cord cutting. Five commissioners need to vote on the merger before any decision can be made by the FCC. Currently the topic is not on the January agenda, so the hope that it would be complete by the end of January seem to be out of reach.


Apple and Verizon have confirmed finally that the iPhone 4 is to be made available on the Verizon 3G network however the Facetime feature will still only be available when connected via wi-fi. This makes it the same as the service offered by AT&T. When Facetime was first introduced it was announced that the feature would be available on Wi-fi until the end of 2010 and that then, discussions with network operator would look into making it available on normal networks. It is thought that the service would place stress on the current network availability and could use up too much bandwidth. However Verizon have said that their network can handle the iPhone traffic, despite AT&T having trouble keeping up with it. If Facetime was included this could be different.


Wireless carriers are likely to start making family data plans available to their customers. With the use of devices such as tablets and smartphones becoming commonplace for many family members, customers are likely to welcome an initiative which saves them money. Currently no operators in the US have committed to such plans, they are all looking into pricing tiers which may allow customers to stack up different devices on one bill. Verizon have said that they have a new LTE plan on the way which offers two data plans and USB modems for $50 a month for 5GB or $80 per month for 10GB.

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