Internet portal MSN.co.uk will be streaming live coverage of Elton's exclusive concert in Turkey on July 17, but Internet users without high-speed connections will be excluded from watching the event. Elton fans will need a minimum modem speed of 100kbps in order to view the broadcast.
"We could have made it available to people with dial-up connections, but we want people to see that broadband is a viable business opportunity and an important technology," said Chris Frampton, managing director of IP broadcasting company MediaWave which is broadcasting the event.
In order to subscribe to the event, Internet users with a 100kbps connection speed will be charged £7, and those with a faster 300kbps modem will pay the higher price of £10. "Until now, there has never been a network in place that could handle the quality and reliability of a global event on the Web, that people would be prepared to pay for," said Frampton.
But with only around one million broadband home users in the UK, the majority of British Internet users will be denied the privileged of tuning into the event. MediaWave believes that initiatives of this kind will drive demand for broadband, as well as proving that the infrastructure to host quality live events is already in place. "Once things start to become available for higher performance technology, the cost of the equipment falls dramatically," said Frampton.
At the end of last year, more than nine million people logged onto the Internet to watch Madonna's first British concert in seven years.