We mentioned sometime ago that ntl was looking at introducing capping on its products during 2005. Some more confirmation that this is likely to happen has appeared over on CableForum.co.uk.
Telewest is currently racing ahead with its upgrades to 4Mbps for customers on its cable broadband service, while still maintaining a cap free system. The introduction of capping by ntl, would appear to be a way of ensuring their own network does not fall apart under excessive strain, rather than the pure costs per GB. ADSL is seeing a mixed approach to capping. LLU players like UK Online now have a 500GB per month cap, which is massive compared to many caps. AOL is continuing its uncapped approach, and signs are that in late 2005 they will join the LLU crowd also. At present there are products capped or uncapped to suit everyones needs, the question that everyone is trying to predict the answer to is whether capped products will totally replace the unmetered ones. To a large extent the regulator Ofcom and BT Wholesale hold the key to this in the UK. If BT IPStream product pricing is forced to remain high cost per GigaByte to allow LLU and Datastream competitors to make a profit then we will see capping remain, or as in some other countries rises in prices for unmetered products.
2005 also offers to be a year, when video content becomes more common. For example, Multicast video from the BBC. If the VoIP and Video markets are to blossom in the UK, then Ofcom needs to ensure that the pricing for broadband connections is low enough to ensure rapid take-up. It is all very well forcing competition into perhaps 20-40% of UK households via LLU, but for many people for some years to come the BT Group represents the only broadband access they will have.
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