By Guy Kewney  |  Posted 2004-08-25 Print this article Print

But the price of ADSL is unrelated to the cost of providing it. The reason prices for DSL in much of Europe are at the level they are is often related to "quid pro quo" deals. For example, in Britain BT is both wholesaler and retailer. Its retail operation is very keen to cut prices. Where the typical consumer pays around $50 a month for broadband, BT Openworld would like to charge half that, or even less. But the regulator (quite rightly) sees this as a price level no other ISP could match, and so actually prevents BT Openworld from reducing prices. But of course, even if ADSL did come down to the $7-a-month level, wireless still gets into corners that wires wont go.
So, of course, does satellite broadband. Many of the satellite-powered wireless meshes in remote areas are expecting ADSL in 2005—around the time that their satellite Internet contract comes up for renewal. "Having ADSL available gives them more competitive backhaul," said Lander. True; so is satellite the big loser?
Perhaps not. Recent extreme weather in much of Europe has washed away cables, telegraph poles, and even underground wiring conduits. Some rural areas found themselves without phone or broadband for more than a week at a time while reconstruction was undertaken. In those emergency situations, satellite-based wireless broadband was the only game in town. Well, not in town, obviously—in the wild. In the light of new technology, plans to go ahead with WiMax wireless networks may have to be rephrased when carriers go to the financiers for capital. But in reality, most people in the wireless business knew this technology change was coming. It wont change as much as you might think. Click here for more columns by Guy Kewney. Check out eWEEK.coms Mobile & Wireless Center at for the latest news, reviews and analysis.

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