Dial-up dissatisfaction will keep broadband booming

Research finds that many narrowband users are getting increasingly disgruntled, and are planning to upgrade their Net connection soon

Unhappiness about the performance of narrowband Internet connections will ensure that large numbers of Web users keep upgrading to broadband, the latest research has found.

US analyst group Parks Associates predicted on Thursday that there will be a spike in demand for high-speed Internet services in America over the next few months -- suggesting that the UK's broadband boom is also unlikely to falter.

Parks Associates interviewed 2,000 households during March and April this year. Only 53 percent of the narrowband users surveyed said they were happy with their service, compared to 71 percent back in 2001, and just 11 percent were "extremely satisfied".

Almost 50 percent of current narrowband users told Parks Associates they were likely to upgrade to broadband soon, a significant increase on the one-third of interviewees who said this two years ago.

"When combined, these two factors suggest favourable demand for broadband in the next few quarters," said Michael Greeson, vice president and principal analyst for Parks Associates, in a statement.

"Although little has changed in the substance and quality of narrowband service, dial-up subscribers are increasingly judging the quality of their connection based on the perception of what broadband has to offer," Greeson added.

In the UK, broadband take-up is thought to still be excess of 30,000 new subscribers a week. There has been speculation that this figure could drop -- as ISPs run out of customers who had been put off by earlier high prices, but now feel happy to pay up to £30 per month for broadband.

Parks Associates' work, though, suggests that the current buoyant market is here to stay -- good news for the UK telecoms industry and broadband content providers.