Gigabit Cities

Consumers Are Gig Ignorant – Study

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.

Track the latest efforts to deliver gigabit services on our broadband channel here at Light Reading.

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

mhhf1ve 10/6/2014 | 4:26:13 PM
don't confuse consumers with NUMBERS (or scientific prefixes) It really doesn't matter if consumers are Gig-ignorant... They will all soon be bombarded with various trademarked names of service tiers that will indicate popular usage limits.

I assume most people still don't know what 4G LTE means for speeds, but they just know it's better than 3G. 

If the fast lanes and slow lanes are coming to the US, then we'll all soon see marketing to that makes knowledge of what a "gig" is irrelevant.
DanJones 10/6/2014 | 4:07:59 PM
So they are, in fact... Gignorant?

I'm here all week, try the tofu!!!
sam masud 10/6/2014 | 3:52:37 PM
Not buying it.... Frankly, I find it hard to believe that so few even know what gigabit is. Who did these guys survey--mom & pop shops, SMBs or what? It says the results are from a "national consumer research" study. I tend to think the term consumers in this business is generally equated with the mass market (e.g. people like moi), not businesses that are bigger than a mom&pop shop.
mendyk 10/6/2014 | 2:33:50 PM
Re: The language of the tribe I'm thinking more about live content (as in, watching the Super Bowl in extrasuperduper 3DHD), and the fact that we now build homes to accommodate theater-sized video displays. And we can agree that the "gigabit" designation is kind of a catch-all, and most likely overkill for today's known universe of content. But there could be some benefit to building 12-lane roads for what today is two lanes of traffic.
brooks7 10/6/2014 | 2:24:01 PM
Re: The language of the tribe My question about bandwidth consumption at the home over the long term relates to video to me.  There are those here that post that of course we all need to be able to upload Gigabytes of content instantaneously, but my upload times to Youtube are fine today.  The processing time of my video recordings both at my webinar provider and Youtube far outweigh my upload times.

Anyway, I am a believer that over time most video will switch to smaller personal screens.  If we believe in the disaggregation of content (unicast videos that each person watches on their own), then this will be the case.  My son does it today with various video sites that he streams.  He watches that a LOT more than he does regular TV (and he is 27 years old).  

So, if screens get smaller the amount of bandwidth required to fill them with pixels will get smaller.  And we can do it digitally in a way that ignores the requirements of the older encoding schemes to support analog TVs.  

So, I can imagine us hitting a peak where we stream 1 large screen and several screens per home.  But if I say a stream is 10 Mb/s, I still see no need for 1Gb/s for consumer households.  


mendyk 10/6/2014 | 2:12:07 PM
The language of the tribe It's OK for insiders and wonks to talk about gigabit networks, but the concept will require real services to catch on with mass-market consumers. It's definitely a challenge, because it's a Catch-22 kind of deal -- you can't launch services without the gigabit network, and you can't get backing for the gigabit network without tangible services. When we get to the point at which some gigabit-enabled markets see the launch and uptake of a la carte video subscription, then non-technoid consumers will get excited.
KBode 10/6/2014 | 11:28:45 AM
Interesting... Interesting, though I guess not surprising when you consider these 1 Gbps services are really aimed at cutting edge users to give the impression that historically a little bit competitively-stagnant large carriers are keeping pace with Google Fiber. Most of those same companies would (and did, for months) insist they don't think most users need or want those speeds...even though I think telling users what they want is a misdirection effort aimed at diverting the conversation away from price.
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