Conference paper
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This paper suggests that the forgotten domain of the complex and vigorous debates about the future of higher speed broadband in Australia is the experience and expectations of users and consumers with broadband. Research to date about such user experiences, especially in Australia, has essentially concentrated on Internet services and mainly with narrowband users. Yet Internet is not broadband. We, in Australia, have much to learn from recent European experiences with broadband. The paper examines four factors that are driving user take up of broadband: new convergent consumer models of service provision; user-led innovations facilitated through vehicles such as You Tube and My Space that need faster upload and download speeds; successful models of collective ownership building community services; and burgeoning specialised attractive new institutional services, such as the revolution in broadband services now offered by the British Library. Factors such as these are part of new forces at work in driving the recent impressive uptake of broadband services in Europe. A 'tipping point' appears to have been reached. A call is made here for new kinds of research investigations, in both international and Australian contexts, to investigate new service options for broadband consumers and related consumer responses.

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