The Case Against Broadband
This isn't the first article that we've linked to that attempts to identify the dismal sign up rate -- less than 10% -- for broadband services. It's interesting to note that the article claims that "Almost all U.S. Families live in areas where a high-speed Internet connection is available." They, of course, don't live in one of several towns on Cape Cod, but that's beside the point.
What is of issue is that the article also claims that Napster prompted many people get high speed lines so that they could download music and burn CDs of their favorite songs. While I can't necessarily argue with that, (though I doubt Napster was the primary reason many people switched to or tried broadband), it is worth pointing out that there is a fundamental flaw in their argument. They state that nothing has sprung up to replace Napster. That's entirely incorrect. There are several file swapping networks out there. One of those is larger than Napster ever was.
After a long list of possible reasons, they finally get around to mentioning cost. From our experience, most of the people who switch back to dial-up or never try broadband cite cost as the number one reason. It is my belief that few people are willing to pay more for their Internet connection than for their phone bill.
In fact, I would hazard a guess that most people with broadband Internet access pay more for their Internet connectivity than for most of their other utilities. Until the Internet connection replaces our phone bill, our cable or satellite bill, and can notify the oil company that I need more home heating oil, I question whether or not Internet connectivity is worth $50 to $100 for most people.