Almost nowhere in the world, except for some parts of Southeast Asia, are policymakers happy about the pace of high-speed broadband deployment. One might argue that even where 100 Mbps services are widely available, service providers are relatively unsatisfied with take rates, though. That illustrates the on-going tension between “deployment” and “adoption.”

Jeremy Hunt, the U.K. Culture Secretary, has warned that the United Kingdom is risking trailing the rest of Europe in the deployment of superfast broadband. UK deployment too slow

“We need to ensure we do not make the same mistake in broadband that we made in railways – building our high-speed network 45 years after the French and 62 years after the Japanese,” Hunt was quoted as saying.

Those are reasonable concerns. The other practical concern service providers have, though, is the state of demand for such services, though. So far, service providers are not complaining about “too much end user demand” for services ranging from 50 Mbps to 1 Gbps, to put it mildly.

Where governments are willing to bear the risk, those governments can push high-speed deployment as rapidly as they like. Where private investors must bear the risk, the issue of demand is crucial, especially when it is clear supply is going to increase. Coming auctions for fourth-generation spectrum are not going to produce networks capable of 50-Mbps and higher speeds, to be sure. But the gnawing concern has to be that such services will be fast enough to compete with fixed-line services where most of the potential demand exists.

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