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Dial-up punters shouldn't be ignored by ISPs even though many operators are increasingly focusing more and more of their attention and resources on pushing broadband.

So says a report by IDC, which confirms that while the decline of consumer dial-up Internet access is now well underway, it will be a long-term process before it is fully eclipsed by broadband.

In the meantime, IDC is advising ISPs not to forget completely dial-up Net access since it still does have a future - albeit a diminishing one.

ISPs still need to provide a level of service that will maintain customer loyalty, while content providers need to remember that not everyone has - or wants - a super-fast connection.

Or as IDC analyst Chris Drake, puts it: "As providers of both dial and broadband services seek to migrate their dial customers to broadband, they must ensure that they continue to support the needs of dial customers.

"Some providers are already discovering that disillusionment with their dial service can lead to churn, with dial customers moving to the broadband (or dial) offerings of rival ISPs.

"It remains the case that many Internet access consumers have no immediate intention or even ability to migrate to broadband. ISPs therefore need to ensure that a broad range of dial access offerings and pricing plans are available, and that the introduction of new value-added services and online content is not purely reserved for broadband customers," he said.

IDC's report, Western Europe Consumer ISP Market Analysis, 2003 reckons that the decline in dial-up access has started across most, but not all, of Western Europe, as the uptake of broadband begins to reshape the market. ®

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