Birth of Broadband

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This report on the “Birth of Broadband” is the fifth in the ITU Internet Reports series (previously known as “Challenges to the Network”). At a time when the telecommunication industry is struggling with overcapacity and indebtedness, broadband - high-speed Internet access - offers the chance of revitalizing market demand. The number of broadband subscribers was set to double in 2003. This report was specially prepared to coincide with ITU TELECOM WORLD 2003, held in Geneva from 12 to 18 October 2003. The first part presents a series of analytical chapters, backed up by country case studies, graphs and charts. The second part presents the latest available data for broadband and telecommunication use in 206 economies across the globe, including the new release of ITU’s Mobile and Internet Index.



Technologies for broadband

Although most people have heard of broadband, few know exactly how they could begin to define it. Many would probably associate broadband with a particular speed or set of services, but in reality the term “broadband” is like a moving target. Internet speeds are increasing all the time, and at each new advance, marketeers eagerly emphasize just how blazingly fast the latest connection speeds are. It is revealing to look back at advertisements for 14.4 and 28.8 kbit/s modems, for example, just to see how every step is considered “blazing” at the time. It is also important to acknowledge that broadband technologies are always changing, and that a report like this necessarily reflects just a “slice in time”. One can therefore only really talk about the “current” state of broadband, and make tentative extrapolations, based on planned or incipient developments, that may or may not come to fruition in the future.


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