Dot.com take 2: Web 2.0 plus powerful broadband re-ignite e-commerce

But this time the story includes more players and will not end in a crash as it now has the infrastructure to support it, according to analysts.

Wansink predicts video based communication will be the killer Web 2.0 application. This will be mainly produced by users themselves, with commercial video entertainment making up only a quarter of the services. She also envisages that the industry will produce new entertainment, which will include elements based on personalised and interactive video applications.

"The social and User-Generated Content (UGC) networks clearly show that the 'consumer-led' era has begun, which heralds the end of the era in which the vested interests were able to control what they presented to their users," she said.

"While the narrowband video services have been around for several years, new video applications have also emerged as the Internet media companies seek to exploit the added speed and capacity of broadband infrastructure. This will result in a whole new range of applications continuing to enter the market over the next decade," she said.

Wansink added that Australia's data cap on Broadband is the greatest barrier to Web 2.0 applications being developed to their full potential locally.

iiNet managing director Michael Malone disagrees.

"It's bollocks, for three reasons. First up, Australia is not unique in having quotas. Forget the rhetoric about how wonderful it is everywhere else in the world and look at the actual products on offer. The UK is a good example where each ISP with a typical limit of around 40GB defines "unlimited broadband". That's despite the fact that bandwidth in the UK costs less than one tenth the price it costs in Australia," he said.

Secondly, he said, data costs money.

"ISPs who offer truly unlimited offerings end up being more expensive and therefore only attract heavy downloaders, the 'leeches'. This spirals and ultimately they either have crap performance, they introduce limits, or they go out of business."

Malone did say however, that transparency in pricing is a good thing.

"If it costs more, then passing that cost through visibly creates sustainable products. The right solution there is to get the per-unit cost down, which we're all working on. The amount of quota in data caps in Australia has been going up steadily over the past decade."

Most obviously, Malone said, Web 2.0 applications do not generally require large amounts of bandwidth.

"Let's be real here. The applications that we're talking about are comparatively low volume. The thing that uses up heaps of bandwidth is p2p. So data caps are irrelevant to Web 2.0."

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Dahna McConnachie

Good Gear Guide

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