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Broadband has Universal Consumer Appeal

According to the results of a new survey of U.S. and Canadian consumers that segments households by demographics, all segments rated broadband "the communication service they can least live without," reports In-Stat.

While not spelled out specifically in the In-Stat assessment, I interpret this new insight to further validate that the universal consumer appeal of broadband is freedom to choose from a multitude of communications and media options, and then assemble an ad-hoc compilation based upon personal preferences.

Any value-added service model that is presented from the perspective of a legacy 'command and control' mindset is therefore counter to this key trend in consumer self-determination. Broadband service providers that disregard this customer requirement will suffer the consequences of their own 19th century mass-market 'one size fits all' thinking.

Survey results also give clues about how next-generation consumer applications, such as personal telephone numbers and address books, individual mail boxes, and user profiles, may redefine how we communicate through the personalization of traditional shared services.

"Clearly, existing behavior plays a significant role in future household buying decisions," says Keith Nissen, In-Stat analyst. "But the fact that consumers have embraced broadband in a very short period of time illustrates that consumer attitudes, regardless of age, income, or geography, can change."

In-Stat's market study found the following:

- There is significant diversity among broadband households regarding lifestyle, interests, activities, and buying behavior.

- 72 percent of all leading-edge broadband households in North America already have a cable TV service bundle. "Me-Too" type services will not be enough to win away these consumers.

- 85 percent of all broadband household segments favor the quadruple play.

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