Free or not?

British Telecom this week apparently suggested that it would soon make broadband service free for all its customers, and then hastily backtracked. It’s hard to know what this means — probably just an executive being misunderstood in an interview or presentation. Nonetheless, it suggests how wide open the broadband landscape is going forward.

While the focus in the US today is on whether broadband access providers can charge more — to their customers, and to content providers — the long-term trend must be toward charging less. That’s what competition does in an industry where costs are falling all the time.