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Europe braces itself for broadband explosion

Analysts say it could mean the end for independent ISP's

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Independent ISP's and smaller broadband start-ups will lose out to major telcos in the predicted ballooning of broadband Internet access in Europe.

By 2005 ADSL will be the technology of choice, accounting for 53 per cent of the market. The driving force behind the new technology will be the content, and this is where the battle for the mass market will be fought.

According to research from Forrester, by 2005 27 million European homes, or 18 per cent of the population, will have broadband access as competition in the market pushes prices down.

"To date, broadband has been unavailable, unaffordable, and uninteresting to Europe's masses - but change will come fast," explained Lars Godell, analyst for Forrester Research.

"Competition will radically expand coverage as cablecos and telcos battle it out. Forrester expects access prices to sink below E30 per month in 10 of 17 European countries by year-end 2002," Godell said.

Subsciption will match the US levels, being fastest in Scandinavia, where penetration is expected to reach between 36-40 per cent. The Netherlands and Germany will follow closely behind at 28 and 25 per cent penetration respectively.

The UK will draw a fairly respectable 20 per cent of the population into the broadband fold, but France will only manage a technophobic 11 per cent, analysts said. ®

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