In the world’s most developed nations, broadband is “overwhelmingly” sold as part of a “mixed bundle,” according to new research from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The OECD defines mixed bundles as service offerings that allow users to choose among a variety of stand-alone and bundled services.

The report, titled “Broadband Bundling: Trends and Policy Implications,”  also found that the average bundled discount compared with buying the services separately is $15 a month or 26%. The average price of a three-service bundle is $65.

“Bundling plays a key role in extending broadband access to those who value it less than the lowest stand-alone price in the market,” the report authors argue. In other words, some people who wouldn’t buy broadband at its stand-alone price are motivated to do so when broadband is discounted as part of a bundle that also includes voice or video service or both. The net result is higher overall broadband adoption.

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The new OECD report was based on an analysis of more than 2,000 service offerings from 90 service providers in 30 OECD countries. Slightly more than three-quarters (77%) of the providers allow users to buy stand-alone broadband services. Seventeen percent of the operators require customers to purchase broadband only in combination with voice service, and four percent require a video subscription with broadband.

The report also offers some advice for regulators, recommending that they:

  • Encourage ISPs to provide more information on the characteristics of packages they are selling and to make prices clear and understandable for consumers
  • Ensure that consumers can switch providers when better offers appear
  • Consider working with competition authorities to address lingering problems with market dominance, including possibly extending network unbundling requirements

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