For years both webmasters and consumers alike have been pulling their hair out at the slow progress of broadband access; with streaming video technology outpacing connection speeds by leaps and bounds. Even the smallest amateur site can provide video to its members; but what percentage of users are actually going to sit and wait for the download when their need has to be satisfied right now?
Not many, says at least one newbie tutor, who encourages new webmasters to build sites strictly for dial-up while posting discouraging statistics about broadband's current hold in the connection marketplace.
Still, always on the lookout for a new trend, many webmasters are starting to see the benefits of data-heavy downloads. High-speed consumers pay more for their connections, and as such, signify a higher income level and more of a spending budget for porn. MGPs (Movie Gallery Posts), PPV Movies, and video-only sites are popping up like dandelions in your springtime lawn. Amateur sites are now considered "old hat" if they can't provide a live streaming cam or at least video clips.
Considering the small percentage of broadband users in the ocean of net surfers and DSL companies creating their own dot-bomb fallout,
Broadband - Coming To An Outlet Near You
A mere 4 months ago, broadband over power lines was considered to be years away. The technology was there, but with DSL taking such a downturn, who would want to fund the research of it? Enter the visionaries - companies such as Ameren in Illinois, Potomac Electric Power, and Current Technologies in Maryland. Just last Wednesday, Current opened up a working-trial home for inspection. Sporting wiring that is at least 20 years old, the house pumped data-heavy video, games, and internet radio through to waiting computers without a hitch. Says Federal Communications Chairman Michael Powell, who visited the test home, the technology will "simply blow the doors off the provision of broadband". Current is already serving 70 homes in Maryland, with another test site in Cincinatti, and promises to open up the technology for widespread consumer use this year
Skeptical? Keep in mind that while cable and DSL have been going through their growing pains, billions of dollars have been pumped into laying down fiber-optic cable across the US in preparation for true high-speed capability. Fiber-optic is sometimes used to route the data around high-powered transformers when delivered over power lines. Office supply stores such as Office Max and Staples have offered power outlet home networking adapters for years. Much of Europe has been operating on broadband over power lines for a while now. The technology is fast, the carriers are already in place, and most importantly - it's affordable. While cable and DSL connections will cost your surfer $40/mo and up, broadband over power lines is planned to hit the market at a much cheaper $30/mo - a savings of at least $120 per year. Add to that the flexibility of plugging your computer in anywhere in your home without running cables or setting up new ugly outlets, and you've got a surefire winner. By summertime next year, broadband literally could double its share of the connection landscape.
What Does This Mean For Your Site?
It means you'd better be ready. Once the market for broadband over power lines opens up, it will be too late to catch up with your competition. Search engine positioning for high-speed terms can take months to tweak, so those birds that start early will get the worm. Video will become not a bonus, but a standard by which your surfers will weigh their options. Start now by offering surfers a high-speed or dial-up option to enter your site, and follow through with the same option in the member's area. Always curious, dial-up surfers will come into the high-speed area to see what's different; let them find longer, higher quality videos and bigger, brighter photos. Fuel the desire in them now for the difference that broadband can make, and you'll have a surfer salivating to try the new technology the instant it zips down his power lines.
If you're still skeptical, go ahead and take a wait-and-see attitude. Your competition won't mind the increase on his bottom line.