Have Broadband, Will Download

by : J Tillotson

The music download giant Napster has recently launched an online music store, where internet users can download individual MP3's for a price of around 60p each, or ?5 for a full album.

It's estimated at over 6 million tracks will be available to purchase, and be in the standard MP3 format, meaning they can be played on iPods, MP3 players, or burnt onto audio CD's. The new store by Napster is a direct competitor for Amazon and iTunes, which is currently the largest music retailer in the US.

This move by Napster will see the end of digital protection on studio tracks as more and more people wish to have the option of downloading directly onto portable music devices other than an iPod - currently iTunes uses Fairplay Digital Rights Management to prevent the use of their tracks being used on any other device.

Of course, downloading music will require a fast internet connection, which is where Broadband comes into its own. A 3.2Mb song could take just a minute or two with a high-speed broadband connection, whereas with a dial-up modem the same song could take around 20 minutes. And music downloads are just one benefit of broadband. With a faster connection you can also watch movies online, take part in web conferencing, and simply browse through websites faster. And with the advent of VoIP, you can even use a high-speed connection to talk online to others, free of charge. You can download the Skype software and use it to talk to other Skype users anywhere in the world without it costing you a penny.

Perhaps the area in which broadband really is indispensable is the world of online gaming. With games like Neverwinter Nights, World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy opening up to online players across the world, it's even more important to have a steady, fast connection. Because of the immense amount of people on a game server at any one time, a gamer needs a good connection to cope with it.

If you have broadband but aren't sure of what speed you're getting, run a broadband speed test online to find out. If your connection is slower than you thought, it may be worth taking time to compare broadband packages from other providers to see if you can get a better deal.