British cool to 'superfast' broadband services, while U.S. market smothering DSL

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Things are apparently different on the other side of the ocean when it comes to "superfast broadband services." Even though 60 percent of U.K. premises had access to high-speed broadband, only 7 percent of Internet connections were being used, according to Ofcom's Communications Market Report 2012.

What makes this both interesting and disconcerting is that the British government has been pushing for 90 percent penetration by 2015 even though it appears there's little appetite.

On the other side of the coin, Brits like their smartphones and tablets—and use them for Internet access and e-mail. Thirty-nine percent of U.K. adults own a smartphone (up 12 percent from 2011) and over 10 percent own a tablet, up from 2 percent a year ago.

On this side of the Atlantic, telecoms are increasingly being threatened by higher and higher speed broadband from cable operators—to the point where they might be giving up on DSL. According to Infonetics Research analyst Jeff Heynen, quoted in a Multichannel News story, North America is "a hotbed for wideband activity right now" with DOCSIS 3.0 cable modems shipments up more than 50 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011.

The North American market, the story said, was enough to drive the worldwide market as revenue was up about 10 percent quarter over quarter.

"The growth we're seeing in wideband DOCSIS 3.0 (customer premises equipment) revenue shows that the infrastructure investments made by operators in DOCSIS 3.0 equipment over the past few years are now paying off in new subscribers and upgrades to existing subscribers' services," Heynen told MCN.

This surge in cable modem sales and wideband acceptance is no doubt a primary reason why DSLReports' Karl Bode recently suggested telcos are throwing in the towel with DSL trying to compete with cable offerings.

"We've noted repeatedly how telcos like AT&T and Verizon are giving up entirely on DSL in many markets," Bode wrote, calling the move "a shift made evident by the fact they don't seem too concerned that many users are fleeing to cable to get speeds their un-upgraded DSL lines can't provide."

This attitude, he wrote, apparently goes hand-in-hand with carriers' focus "on the growth potential of wireless, where both AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) are eager to bill users at $10 to $15 per gigabyte."

Corrected to reflect correct companies in final paragraph.

For more:
- V3 has this story
- Multichannel News has this story
- and DSLReports has this post

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