US telcos are phone companies in name. They have been losing their grip on the voice business. And now they are even starting to lose their traction in the broadband business as well. Q2 will see firstever quarterly decline in broadband subscribers at large telcos.
Thanks to furious broadband growth in China, a resurgent US and new Asian markets, the world is close to having half a billion broadband subscribers. That represents 8.4 percent of the worldwide population penetration and a household penetration of 30.8 percent. A full breakdown by the numbers.
A new report shows that the demand for new broadband connections jumped during the first quarter of 2010, reversing what has been a long slide in 2009. Cable broadband companies did particularly well in comparison to phone companies. Comcast added 400,000 subscribers, while AT&T added 255,000.
For the longest time I, like many, have been beating the drum of faster-faster-and-faster-still broadband. When I had 2 Mbps, I wanted 4 Mbps. Once I got 4 Mbps, I wanted 8 Mbps. South Koreans and their speedy connections made me jealous. I was envious of all the Free.fr customers in France. I was mad about 50 Mbps connections in Japan and Scandinavia. Why can’t we have those speeds in the U.S., I often complained. Read More about The Ugly Truth About Broadband: Upload Speeds
Broadband growth and net new additions in 2008 declined sharply, according to a report by Durham, N.H.-based Leichtman Research Group. For 2008, big telephone and cable companies added a total of 5.4 million new subscribers vs. 8.5 million in 2007 and 10.4 million in 2006. The large carriers accounted for a total of 67.7 million subscribers. The cable companies ended the year with 36.9 million broadband subscribers, after adding 3.2 million broadband subscribers in 2008.
The slowdown has continued in the first quarter of 2009 as well. With net new additions slowing down, cable operators are looking to up-sell higher speed packages and impose bone-headed metered broadband packages. Comcast recently boosted speeds on its offerings in the San Francisco Bay Area and started offering a super-pricey 50 Mbps service.
Ustream is reportedly going up against Qik, Kyte and Flixwagon with the creation of a mobile vid-casting application, writes Mobile Crunch. We contacted Ustream for confirmation but only got back an email saying, “We don’t have a comment on mobile at this time.”
The big differentiator for the Ustream service will supposedly be drastically shorter lag times between recording and posting video. The video embedded above demonstrates the difference in lag between Ustream and Qik (though we don’t know how that video was created). Mobile Crunch also reports that the Ustream app will have mobile chat and if your handset has dual cameras, you’ll be able to switch between the two.
Though Ustream is being tight-lipped right now about the products (bastards!), we’ll keep pestering them to get more info. Recently mobile vid-caster Kyte started de-emphasizing its consumer service to focus on publishers.
With the economic slowdown and faltering housing sales, the US broadband growth has hit a speed bump. And that’s not good news for broadband providers, who hope to overcome the odds by offering speed boosts. Even that might not be enough. Continue Reading.