Communications research and consultancy firm Yankee Group has predicted that the European broadband market will expand at an annual rate of 68% over the next four years and be worth USD18.9 billion in 2006. The company is forecasting that take-up rates for digital subscriber line (DSL) services will far outstrip those for cable modem services and will dominate the consumer market in terms of penetration. However, Yankee has estimated that the business market will generate the largest average revenue per user (ARPU) figures, and be responsible for around half of all DSL revenues, but only around 22% of subscriptions. By the end of 2006 it forecasts there will be 33.1 million residential DSL and cable modem subscribers across Europe.
Figures published by fellow research firm Datamonitor concur with Yankee’s vision that DSL technologies will dominate the access market, predicting that 41 million households will be connected to high-speed internet services by the end of 2006, up from the current level of around ten million. In contrast, where Yankee has forecast strong broadband growth through until the end of 2006, Datamonitor expects revenues from broadband services to start tailing off in 2004. It advises operators to focus on premium content services, and says tariffs will have to fall in order to get the mass market to migrate from narrowband services. Yankee agrees on this point, adding that broadband service providers should look at tiered pricing structures.