AMSTERDAM: By 2012 most European countries will have reached an 80-90pc household broadband penetration rate, analyst firm Arthur D Little has claimed.
According to strategy research commissioned by NTL Ireland and Chorus owners UPC, broadband in Europe will eventually reach commoditisation stage. As a result, the battle for the consumer will not be fought over access but over content and services.
Konstantinos G Apostolatos of Arthur D Little said that by 2012, following years of commoditisation and ARPU (average revenue per user) decline, next-generation networks (NGNs) featuring high bandwidth will allow for new opportunities for growth in the broadband market.
He said that multiple-play services will evolve in terms of quality, availability, convergence and mobility and will be the main driver of higher bandwidth requirements until 2011.
Growth is expected in innovative broadband services, high-end video services (high-definition digital video recording and video on demand) and fixed to mobile convergence.
Apart from traditional infrastructure and service providers, new market entrants such as Google, MSN and Apple are expected to benefit from this growth.
Competition between converged operators and new players, Apostolatos said, will be intense and so will be co-operation. Consequently, the market will converge.
Key technologies influencing the creation of NGNs will include VDSL, cable and fibre to the home.
VDSL, he said, is expected to dominate because of its superior scale. Cable will excel in next-generation video services such as high-definition-based services and applications.
And fibre to the home, he said, will be mostly relevant at a local/regional level, provided it is able to offer more than superior bandwidth.
By John Kennedy