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The growth in broadband is set to accelerate in the US but only if it becomes easier to use, research outfit In-Stat/MDR said this week.

With around 27m broadband lines spread between US businesses and homes at the end of 2003 high speed Net access is now perceived to be a mainstream service.

With so many users, the growth in high speed Net access has also helped develop new services - such as Voice over IP (VoIP) and online gaming, for example - which can exploit broadband.

In-Stat/MDR reckons that this starts a cycle where growth in both broadband and applications feed the growth of each other, which is great news for those looking to cash-in on the broadband revolution.

However, there is a snag: it seems broadband and its applications must be easier to use.

"The one major challenge that faces the future provisioning of broadband will come from a less tech-savvy subscriber," said Daryl Schoolar, senior analyst with In-Stat/MDR.

"As broadband moves into mass adoption, newer subscribers will be less experienced with computers and the Internet. They will expect all of the benefits of the Internet, but will have less patience for dealing with its technical issues.

"When their service goes down they are going to be less likely than early adopters to perform self-diagnosis, and more likely to just pick up the phone and call customer service.

"Also, their lower level of technical knowledge will make communicating with them more difficult. However, the opportunities will outweigh the challenges," he said. ®

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