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Can't pay, won't pay

Users shun the idea of paying for broadband content

Content may be king when it comes to broadband services according to analysts at Gartner research, but users aren't convinced, shunning the idea of shelling out for content.

PC Advisor's latest poll revealed that a massive 50 percent of readers would opt for the most reliable provider, 40 percent the cheapest, but only a tiny two percent said they would choose an ISP based on content.

"The internet has become synonymous with getting something for free and there is a process to work through before consumers will accept that they will [have to] pay for some content on the internet," said Chad Raube, director of internet services at ISP Telewest. The company has already released its pay-for OD2 music download shop.

But if users wish to take advantage of such services, then it seems only a matter of time before they have to start paying.

"Once subscription prices come down and users become used to broadband services, they will probably become more accustomed to the idea of paying for content," said a spokesman at ISP Sniffout.

In Europe users are already being asked to put their money where there mouse is, with Freeserve's French partner Wanadoo charging users for a variety of media services. Unfortunately, the company was unavailable to comment on its plans for the UK

AOL's US arm is also in the process of developing new services in conjunction with Time Warner, to offer users access to a variety of media content. Although such services are not expected to reach the UK yet.

In Korea, which boasts a broadband penetration of 60 percent, most internet users are happy to pay for content, purchasing virtual cash via a text message, which is debited from their mobile phone bill before they spend it. Allowing them to keep track of how much they spend.

But according to research released by Jupiter Media, only four percent of Europeans would be willing to pay for services on a prepaid mobile card and nearly half, 41 percent, said they would rather have the cost of goods added to their mobile phone bill and pay at the end of each month.


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