Saturday, June 17, 2006

Beyond DSL: Rural consumers want "triple play" services

This new study by the National Carriers Exchange Association (NECA) finds consumers in rural areas expect telcos to provide more than DSL. They're looking beyond DSL -- an interim technology designed to allow broadband to work over copper-based cables -- to their future needs for higher bandwidth to support multiple Internet protocol-based services known in the industry as a "triple play" of high speed Internet, voice, and video. That finding is relevant to El Dorado County, where much of the copper cable system is deteriorated and unable to support DSL services anyway.

The results are not surprising since telcos have broadly promoted triple play as the emerging product standard and are taking on cable companies for the right to sell video Internet Protocol Television (IPTV). The question is will they invest the estimated $11.9 billion to upgrade their networks to deliver minimum speeds of 8 Mbps in order to offer triple play services?
This study goes beyond NECA’s previous examinations of the challenges of bringing broadband to rural America. In The Packet Train Needs to Stop at Every Door, NECA looks at the transformation occurring in rural networks toward Internet Protocol (IP) technology to meet evolving customer expectations for “triple play” multimedia services—a combination of voice, data and video.
These services are driving the need for much higher delivery speeds in the “last mile.” The study examines issues affecting a rural consumer’s ability to access advanced services comparable to those available to urban consumers. Among
these issues are the continuation of stable funding mechanisms to encourage needed network investment
in rural America and emerging issues associated with the delivery of multimedia services. Availability of these services may be a key to increased “take” rates for broadband. These are among the subjects that must be addressed to ensure the packet train arrives on time in rural America.

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