Broadband service is a critical resource for three-quarters of homes that are using it.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has radically altered work routines for professionals, with a huge range of employers mandating remote work, it is essential that employees are equipped with tools for working from home. A new study from Park Associates reinforces this: According to the research, 76% of broadband households say it would be difficult to be without broadband. (A national broadband map published by the FCC highlights where the service is being used.) This figure is likely to only grow in the coming months, as COVID-19 continues to spread across the US.
This study, 360 View: Broadband Services in the US, which was conducted in the third quarter of 2019, also looked at how households prioritized access to the internet at home. According to the results, which reflect consumer attitudes, standalone broadband use is increasing, and bundled options are being dropped. And 60% of consumers are more willing to forgo paid-TV subscriptions rather than give up their broadband service.
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"Under normal market conditions, broadband internet service is an integral part of the connected home experience. But under the extreme market conditions we are seeing now, with the huge spike in in-home internet usage, broadband providers will be relied upon even more so to effectively and efficiently manage their networks to provide professionals and consumers alike the most seamless connected experience possible," said Steve Nason, director of research, Parks Associates.
"This finding indicates providers need to adjust their bundling strategies, to include more OTT video services as options," Nason added. "Currently, less than one-fifth of subscribers receive an OTT service bundled with their broadband package."
Additionally, the study showed that consumers are ill-informed about their current broadband uses, and needs, in terms of speed. Age is the primary factor that determines speed, with younger users opting for 1+ Gbps services, which are often used for streaming content.
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Remote work and social distancing practices will likely increase the dependence for home internet.
"Current conditions, with many people working at home and entertaining-in-place, put more stress on the home's broadband capacity, so service providers need to step up their efforts to help customers better understand their throughput needs," Nason said in the study. "Customers will be more willing to upgrade their speed to match their increased consumption habits, provided they get the right information and assurances it will meet their needs, which will ultimately lead to higher satisfaction levels."
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