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Broadband will steal the show in 2001

So say PC Advisor visitors

This year will be the year of broadband, according to the latest PCAdvisor.co.uk poll.

When asked to choose between broadband, wireless networks, set-top boxes, smart phones and the humble PC, visitors to the site plumped overwhelmingly for fatter pipes.

More than half (52.5%) voted for broadband, leaving wireless networking a very long way behind in second place (15.3%). Smart phones (11.9%), PCs (10.5%) and set-top boxes (9.8%) all got the cold shoulder, clocking up around one in ten of the vote.

Visitor confidence in broadband comes against an increasingly patchy background, leaving BT with all the ADSL cards.

The telco’s monopoly has allowed it to drag its heels on the preparation of the unbundling of the local loop, causing a number of key players to pull out of the ADSL market altogether.

Towel-throwers include Telewest, WorldCom and KPNQwest, all of which abandoned plans for ADSL services last year, citing a combination of obstruction and prohibitive charges from BT.

Operators who want to take a telephone line from BT to provide their own ADSL-based services will have to pay a yearly rental fee of £122 per line, in addition to a one-off connection charge of £88.

BT itself is still trying to clear a backlog of orders for its own Openworld service. The company has also announced plans to cut back its wholesale provision of ADSL to other ISPs (on which ISPs are dependent until the local loop is unbundled).

PC Advisor experienced the thick end of BT’s mismanagement before Christmas when we tried to have an ADSL connection installed in our offices through business ISP Mistral. The installation date was delayed by several weeks.

With the exchange capacity already overloaded in the Tottenham Court Road area of London, a disgruntled but polite Mistral spokesman admitted to having “a number of problems with BT” and accused the company of “seriously underestimating demand.”

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