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[ NNSquad ] Re: U.S. broadband adoption hits 7-year low

Regarding Internet refuseniks, it's of course getting nearly
impossible to conduct various kinds of business without some sort of
Internet access, and likely to become increasingly difficult and
expensive as time goes on -- whether we like it or not.  Surcharges
for paper bills, etc. will be just the start.  I see more and more
ads where the only contact point is a URL.  This calls into question
punitive judicial sentences that include forbidding persons from
using the Net.  Ridiculous, but not unexpected in a society that
also creates laws with residency restrictions for certain released
felons that forces them to live in freeway underpasses.

The economic situation in the U.S. is certainly a key factor in
broadband adoption rates -- it doesn't take an economics degree to
figure this one out.  Broadband access seems to have much more
elastic demand characteristics than assumed in some quarters.  Many
people are also turned off by teaser rates that expire and result in
suddenly ballooning bills, and the resulting battles with
"retention" reps.  

Attempts by carriers to entangle subscribers in various complicated
"multiple service" (e.g. "triple-play") packages (Internet, phone,
cable, etc.) also can trigger resentment when people later realize
how difficult it can be to extricate yourself from elements of the
packages.  A friend of mine suggested that they'd simply drop their
DSL service and go back to dialup if AT&T continued to insist on
doubling their rate after the first year.  Sudden increases after
initial teaser periods often pop up without notice and without prior
offers of extensions or new offerings.

There's a lesson here.  It's likely that a significant portion of
even the existing base of broadband subs is hanging on by a thread.
If carriers continue to play fast and loose with their subscribers
or are perceived as limiting content competition with arbitrary
bandwidth caps, they may learn that to many people, broadband is not
as indispensable as the carriers have been assuming.  And that would
be bad news all around.

NNSquad Moderator

 - - -

> Lets not forget the current economic situation in the US.  Joe American
> has less and less disposable income now that his petrol costs twice as
> much while his dollar is worth 2/3 what it was only a few years ago.
> The petrol increase alone on a modest 10 mile daily commute would be
> enough to cover the cost of the network service.
> There are the refusniks also.  I had a relatively intelligent individual
> convey to me recently that a business contact asked for his email address,
> to which he replied he had none, to the shock of the contact.  His
> justification was "I want to support the government, so I will use a
> stamp."  After I explained to him that a) the postal service was probably
> losing money on those stamps due to the fuel cost increase and b) that the
> internet started as a DARPA project, his attitude changed a bit, but
> probably not enough to encourage him to join us all in the 21st century.
> Enjoy,
> Scott
> On Tue, 12 Aug 2008, Bob Frankston wrote:
> > This reminds me of PC in 1995 when I observed that anyone buying a PC
> > already has one. Either you had a reason to buy a PC or you didn't. The web
> > provided a new reason and it also helped that Windows 95 made the PC far
> > more usable. (Apple was asleep at that point).
> >
> >
> >
> > If you don't have "broadband" by now what reason would you suddenly discover
> > to get it. This is why I point out that we need to think about connectivity
> > as infrastructure and taking advantage of it for more than surfing and
> > shopping.
> >
> >     [ I believe that the above qualifies as somewhat condescending
> >       also.  I sense something of a worrisome disconnect from the
> >       real world of ordinary consumers (and their concerns).  Sorry
> >       about that, Bob.
> >
> >         -- Lauren Weinstein
> >            NNSquad Moderator ]
> >
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org
> > [mailto:nnsquad-bounces+nnsquad=bobf.frankston.com@nnsquad.org] On Behalf Of
> > Lauren Weinstein
> > Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2008 20:55
> > To: nnsquad@nnsquad.org
> > Cc: lauren@vortex.com
> > Subject: [ NNSquad ] U.S. broadband adoption hits 7-year low
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > U.S. broadband adoption hits 7-year low
> >
> >
> >
> > http://blog.wired.com/business/2008/08/us-broadband-sp.html
> >
> >
> >
> > --Lauren--
> >
> > NNSquad Moderator
> >
> >