Many consumers still have no idea what a gigabit is and even those who do aren't sure they want to pay for service that fact, two simple facts that may derail some plans to roll out gigabit networks, says Dave Nieuwstraten, principal with Pivot Group, a research and consulting firm supporting independent telecom service providers.
Speaking at the Broadband Vision show last week in Las Vegas, Nieuwstraten shared national consumer research conducted by Pivot Group which showed that only 13% of those surveyed had heard of gigabit services, although those numbers went up slightly in urban areas (18%) and among respondents 18 to 24 years old (21%). Only slightly more than half knew -- or guessed - that a gigabit was more than a megabit.
That means broadband companies have to do much more education before rolling out gigabit services, Nieuwstraten said. Otherwise, they may find it hard to see 1-Gig services to people who think their current 40-Meg service is faster.
The Pivot research presented other potential obstacles to gigabit services as well, including significant price sensitivity and a general satisfaction among consumers with what they are already getting from their broadband ISP.
On the latter front, 60% said their current service meets their needs and 14% said their current service was "blazingly fast," while only 4% complained that their broadband offering was way too slow.
Only 22% said they would be willing to pay $70 a month to get gigabit service, although that number rose to 39% among families with children at home, Nieuwstraten noted. The more typical price point at which survey respondents would buy gig services was $37.
Plus, 64% said they would prefer to pay a little less for their current speeds rather than pay more to get faster Internet access.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading