Study: Spam, porn, 'rich media' turn U.K. off broadband

WELLINGTON (11/14/2003) - The prevalence of spam, porn and other undesirable material on the Internet risks stalling Britain's march to increasing broadband use, says a new report. Some content providers are also blamed for concentrating too heavily on "rich" media to be largely passively consumed, rather than on connectivity among users.

The report from the iSociety project at The Work Foundation, entitled Fat Pipes, Connected People, was sponsored by Microsoft Corp. and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and produced in partnership with Britain's Broadband Stakeholder Group.

Report co-author James Crabtree says broadband is vital for Britain's future, "but the industry must put itself in its customer's shoes and see how this tide of rubbish is beginning to ruin the experience of going online".

Britain experienced encouraging early spread of broadband but is now seeing a definite slowdown in uptake, as the market among experienced Internet users becomes saturated and providers must start selling to what the report calls "the everyday user".

The report suggests telecommunications companies should stop "pouring hundreds of millions of pounds down the drain" developing "rich media content" which doesn't excite their everyday customers. "They, instead, enjoy creating their own content through exploration, play and communication with friends and family.

"What Internet users need more than anything is support," the report says. "This is what the industry fails to provide. They need support when things go wrong (as they all-too-frequently do). And they need support to get the best out of the 'Net."

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