Posted on March 7, 2000
by Jim Daniels
Because broadband is "still coming"...
In this article you'll learn why broadband high-speed internet access is so slow getting here. You'll also find out if you can get it where you live, and how this technology will (eventually) come into play at your website.
Currently, internet users looking to speed up their internet connections have three primary choices.
- ADSL (over existing phone lines)
- Cable Modem (via the cable TV infrastructure)
- Satellite (through a special satellite dish)
.. that is, depending on where you live.
If you're like me and you live in the country, you may be lucky enough to have even _one_ choice. For me that choice is satellite. And believe me, I tried. And tried. Yet I'm still on a regular ISP.
My own experience is not unlike that of many others in search of high speed internet access. You see, all three choices mentioned above come with this side note:
Even if it's available in your area and you can get it installed properly, you may find that it's not all it's cracked up to be. I learned that first-hand with poor service and unexpected costs.
It's no wonder web message boards are littered with still- slow web surfers singing the broadband blues. It seems that as broadband technology makes its way to the forefront it is encountering its share of problems. Among them are high costs, unreliable connections and technicians who are, shall we say, less than fully trained on the technology.
Rather than bore you with the details of my own trials and tribulations, I'll point you to a few stories about each of these broadband access services...
DSL: Darn Stupid Line
Cable Net Access Rides Slow Boat
Making Sense of Satellite Services
That's not to say YOU shouldn't give current high-speed technology a try. If you want to give it a go, you can save some time and effort by visiting http://www.getspeed.com to find out exactly which services are available in your area.
OK, now that you know why broadband is in the "still coming" stages, lets look forward a bit. After all, advances in technology take time to become mainstream. And broadband access _will_ become mainstream eventually. It may be another 4 or 5 years before it qualifies as such, but it will be here. While it is on the way, you as a web marketer must slowly prepare for the changes.
Don't worry, I'm not going to suggest you try to compete with AOL and Time Warner. Offering rich broadband streaming media is simply not going to be feasible for most small web marketers. And you probably don't have broadband updates worked into your budget. I know I don't! And that's just fine for quite a while to come.
You see, until broadband is actually mainstream, filling your website with rich content can actually be detrimental. It will hurt your "slow lane" web surfers by bogging down their experience. Unless you can offer an experience for BOTH fast and slow users you may be better off taking a minimal position.
But it _is_ a good idea to at least "consider" your strategies and how the eventual emergence of high-speed access may help your web presence.
You may even want to consider "easing" some broadband friendly content into your site. There are lots of ways to do this. Here are just two examples that should help you get your own ideas flowing...
1. Add a little "Flash".
Flash 4 is a program from MacroMedia which is a great solution for producing and delivering high-impact Web sites. Developers can create an array of dazzling effects including sound, animations, and innovative interfaces.
Simply put, if you want to create an impression and an unforgettable experience at your website, Flash is the tool to use. And if you're not up for developing your own Flash presentations, you can hire out the work. More and more web designers are offering flash programming to their services.
If you do decide to add Flash to your website though, don't force it on your visitors. While Flash works fine on slower connections, it's stronger on high-speed access, so make your Flash presentations an option your visitors can choose to view.
More information on Flash can be found at: http://www.macromedia.com/software/flash/
2. Add Professional Audio.
There are lots of ways to add audio to your site. A new and simplified method is available from Website Audio Productions, a company specializing in streaming audio for Internet communication. http://www.websiteaudio.com
As you'll see, their combination of professional script- writing, expert studio production, and no plug-in technology makes it easy to actually speak to your website visitors. And a professional voice greeting is a great way to audio-enable...
- Company Introductions
- Promotion of Products and Services
- Content Summaries
- Customer Service Information
- Virtual Tours, and more
Try one of their free greetings on your website. If you like
it, personalized versions are quite inexpensive. No special
server software is required and the greetings are a breeze
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