U.S. News and World Report recently conducted a nationwide survey on broadband usage and pricing. The survey captures a lot of statistics about broadband usage and creates a good snapshot of broadband usage in the summer of 2023. The survey talked to people in every state and has a statistical margin of error of 2%.
There are some interesting statistics on broadband usage.
- 85% of survey respondents go online every day.
- 31% of respondents say they are online almost constantly.
- 8% of respondents don’t have home broadband access.
- 20% of respondents have either one or no other choice of ISP.
As part of the survey, respondents took a speed test:
- 64% are receiving download speeds faster than 100 Mbps or faster. According to the latest OpenVault report
- 8% are receiving download speeds under 25 Mbps, which by the FCC’s definition, means they don’t have broadband.
- 25% of respondents have upload speeds of 10 Mbps or slower.
This shows a disconnect between subscription speeds and actual speeds. The report from OpenVault from June 2023 showed that less than 11% of homes are now subscribed to speeds of 100 Mbps or less, but 36% of homes are not getting that speed.
The survey looked at a variety of issues related to broadband pricing.
- Over half of respondents said that they paid between $20 and $60 when they first subscribed to their current ISP but that they are now paying between $41 and $80 for service from the same ISP.
- 39% of respondents say that they have to cut other personal expenditures in order to afford to pay for their broadband bill.
- 61% say that inflation is making it difficult to pay for their monthly broadband bill.
- Only 45% of respondents think the speed they receive justifies the price they pay. 28% are unhappy with the speed they get for the price they pay.
These survey results should be a wake-up call to ISPs. ISPs have gotten complacent that broadband has become such a necessity that people will pay the bill at any price. But inflation is changing that situation, and the industry should take heed that 61% of broadband customers say that they struggle to pay their broadband bill.
I think price is a big factor in the amazing success of FWA cellular home broadband from T-Mobile and Verizon. Customers can buy FWA for prices from $50 to $70 depending on the specific situation, which is now a lot cheaper than buying from any of the big cable companies that have starting prices of $85 and higher.
The survey also points out what speed tests have been showing. A lot of broadband customers are not receiving the speeds that ISPs claim to be receiving in marketing literature. In this particular survey, only 64% of respondents had a speed test of greater than 100 Mbps download – far fewer than would have been accepted according to what ISPs claim to be selling. It’s going to get interesting really quickly if the FCC under Jessica Rosenworcel increases the definition of broadband to 100/20 Mbps. According to this survey and according to the detailed speed test results I’ve been seeing, a significant number of homes are not receiving those speeds and fail the 100 Mbps download test, the 20 Mbps upload test, or both.