Industry Insight Series

Data speaks volumes, and Innovative Systems’ 9th Annual Rural Broadband, Video, and Social Media Report is clearly shouting one truth of note for rural broadband providers: their customers seek to pay a fair price for a good, consistent speed. That might sound like a relatively banal conclusion, but here’s the kicker: they think a fair price is more than they’re currently paying.

29% would pay $14 more for faster speeds

Based on findings of surveys of more than 800 participants collected in January 2024, the study reveals that 29% of rural broadband customers would prefer faster internet and are willing to pay an average of $83 per month for it. However, they also reported an average internet spend of just $69 a month. In other words, if they could access higher speeds, they’d be willing to pay $14 more for them every month.

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Source: Innovative Systems

Interestingly, respondents indicated that they weren’t exactly sure what their internet connection speed was, but they do know what is fast or slow through experience. They also know that they’re not happy with their current rates:

  • Only 54% reported they currently have adequate speed.
  • 32% reported their speed could be improved.
  • 62% reported they are aware that faster speeds are available.
  • 24% said they would pay more for faster internet if given a free trial.
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Source: Innovative Systems

That translates to a clear opportunity for providers to gain a monthly revenue increase by focusing marketing and sales efforts on faster speed offerings.

70% are spending 6 or more hours online every day

By now, everyone in society knows the importance of a solid connection, because many aspects of all our lives are already quite literally running on it. While rural broadband subscribers work from home less frequently (29%) than the US average of 41%, they still rely on an internet connection to stay on top of their jobs.

They also stay on top of their socials.

A whopping 80% of respondents reported using Facebook, across all age groups. 72% are watching YouTube. 48% are on Instagram, and an impressive 40% of rural customers are tuning in to TikTok.

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Source: Innovative Systems

These platforms are bound to become more and more sophisticated, continuously incorporating AI that becomes more and more intelligent at exponential speeds. And newer platforms offering even more tools are bound to arise as well – ones that require ever-faster speeds.

Telemedicine. Banking. Travel. The list of aspects of our society that are now intertwined with the internet goes on and on. Also obvious is society’s intention to further embed ourselves in this ever-expanding digital universe for the foreseeable future.

The need for speed has never been greater than it is right now, and it will only continue to grow.

47% make 50k a year or more

That income goes a lot further than it would in more urban areas, empowering rural customers with more financial flexibility. Innovative Systems’ latest report paints a clear picture about how they’re willing to spend it: on faster speeds in order to gain an advantage in the future of society.

For additional insight, access Innovative Systems’ full 2024 Rural Broadband, Video, and Social Media Report.

This series features insight into important broadband industry issues from industry leaders.

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