Today, it’s set to become just the opposite. With home broadband connections ubiquitous and broadband deals priced competitively, what was once the height of technology has become the standard. After growing to a 95% broadband penetration rate throughout the late 2000s, the UK’s Office for National Statistics has stopped monitoring quarterly growth altogether, claiming that broadband has, in many ways, hit its peak.
But has it? With the vast majority of UK households connected to the internet and benefiting from enhanced download speeds, is it really time to call broadband the most popular and long-lasting option? New technology has transformed broadband connections into something which they barely resembled in their early days – fast, simple, and quite manageable home connections.
It’s a transition – and in many ways, a transformation – that’s taking place in the mobile world. With inexpensive mobile broadband plans becoming the standard and high-end smartphones replacing ageing handsets, the internet is becoming more accessible than ever. Almost every major online service is present on mobile internet, many of which have their own customized mobile application to boot. Companies are even using products like Dell cloud computing to let their employees access their corporate workstation remotely.
The UK’s mobile phone providers have certainly capitalized on the mobile broadband boom. Data plans and pay-as-you-go connections are available through every UK mobile provider, with many aiming to dominate the growing market early on by offering liberal download restrictions and flexible contracts. The mobile broadband arena appears to be focused on growth rather than pure revenue; a long-term move which has certainly taken its cues from the early days of broadband.
And yet, while multi-billion-dollar telecoms battle to gain market share, a growing number of customers are wondering what the fuss is all about. Wifi hotspots and connection points are almost universal across Britain, available in all major population centres and in a growing number of public eateries. Just as broadband grew into ubiquity in Britain’s homes, wireless broadband is growing into the most popular and prevalent public connection option.
This leaves a section of Britain’s internet users without a clear reason to make the switch, at least not just yet. Public connection points have ceased to be a technological marvel, becoming more of a pastime for many of Britain’s mobile workers. Starbucks, McDonalds, and other leading restaurants each offer their own wireless broadband service, slightly dulling the revolutionary effects of global 3G coverage.
However, mobile phone fans and technology enthusiasts are anticipating the mobile broadband revolution with excitement. The prevalence of high-end smartphones has made what was once considered an unattainable technical peak a very realistic possibility, and with a large number of Britain’s carriers offering near-unlimited mobile broadband service already, one that could quickly becoming the de-facto broadband connection technology.