This site is known for highlighting the continuing increase in retail broadband speeds offered by broadband carriers. From 1.5 Mbps to 5 Mbs to 20 Mbs, to talk of even 100 Mbps, carriers are increasingly trying to outdo each other with “my broadband is bigger than your broadband” bravado. Maybe they’re wasting their time (and money). New research from LRG reports that 70% of broadband customers are happy with their existing broadband package. Additionally, the research findings suggest that only 24% of existing broadband subscribers are “very interested” in receiving faster Internet access and only 11% “would very likely pay an additional $10 per month to double their Internet speed.” Ten dollars to double your speed – not a bad deal if you can get it. “While the base of high-speed Internet subscribers in the US has rapidly increased over the past few years, broadband subscribers typically remain very satisfied with their service and are not interested in paying for even faster Internet access,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
Are customers really demanding these higher speeds? If you listen to analysts (myself included at times), absolutely. But data like this does add a reality check to the nonstop rhetoric of “increase broadband speeds at all costs.” Consumers are the ultimate deciders of how much speed is enough. I haven’t seen a breakdown of broadband penetration by actual tiers from any of the major purveyors of faster broadband packages. We all know broadband penetration is growing, but do we really know if customers want/need 100 Mbs? More importantly, do we know how much consumers are willing to spend to get these faster speeds? Just guessing, but I don’t think an extra $10/month is enough to justify the investment in getting even 20 Mbps, much less 100 Mbps, to the home. What do you think?