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Broadband won't become mass market in the UK until service providers bundle entertainment content with high-speed Net access.

So says broadband gear manufacturer, Alcatel, which believes content, such as games, music and video, is essential if families are to turn to broadband.

Said Dave Hills of Alcatel: "We predict that by offering a bundled broadband service of Internet access, music and video content as well as networked gaming, providers will widen the appeal of broadband by offering benefits to more family members.

Curiously, research published earlier this month by Forrester found the complete opposite.

It believes that the way forward is to split access from content.

So, where does that leave us? Dunno really, but BT's definitely got both bases covered. Its ISP, BTdemiwave (btw, that's a gag, BTopenworld was recently called BTopenwave in a popular newspaper) offers access and content.

The frill-less access-only BT Broadband product from BT Retail just supplies access.

So, the answer is probably that both approaches will prevail. However, what's essential is that access and content are essential to the mass-market adoption of broadband.

The most interesting bit of the research, though, is that Alcatel found that only eight per cent of consumers have used the Internet via narrowband connections at home in the past three months, even though 43 per cent of UK homes are now online.

If this is true, one explanation being put forward is that dial-up Net access simply isn't as compelling as first thought. Curious. ®

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