Cable Tech

Airties survey shows home Wi-Fi needs, expectations altered post-pandemic

ISTANBUL – With the rise in remote working and learning, 58% of respondents across the U.S., U.K. and Germany said they encountered more home Wi-Fi issues than before the COVID-19 pandemic, and a remarkable 55% said they had daily issues with their home Wi-Fi, according to a recent survey* commissioned by Airties, the most widely deployed supplier of managed Wi-Fi solutions to service providers globally. Consumers also strongly prefer their broadband operator take the lead in ensuring a quality Wi-Fi experience, with 80% saying they would rather their broadband subscription include home Wi-Fi networking gear instead of purchasing it themselves through retail.

The survey of 1,525 respondents across the U.S., U.K. and Germany, who either had to work or learn from home over the past year, illustrates how the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed consumers’ expectations for home Wi-Fi. Unsurprisingly, 90% of people said they are using their home Wi-Fi more now than ever, with, at the top end of the scale, almost half of Americans (48%) using their Wi-Fi for an additional 7-10+ hours per day, compared to 21% of Germans and 36% of Brits. As people sought out quieter places to work or study, the survey found that 65% were using Wi-Fi in unusual places in their homes, such as garages, attics, and patios. This correlates with the 56% who said they have areas in their home where Wi-Fi does not work well, and demonstrates a significant market need for whole-home Wi-Fi solutions.

According to the survey, 85% of respondents said they value or rely upon their home Wi-Fi more now than before the pandemic, and an encouraging 75% overall indicated that their broadband operator responded well during the pandemic. Nonetheless, 63% said they called to complain about their Wi-Fi and 27% of those respondents said their broadband operator had to organize a technician visit to their home. Of those who did not call to complain, more than a quarter were “silent sufferers” who said they would have liked to call their broadband operator to help fix their Wi-Fi issues but did not because of the time and effort it would require. A disconcerting 49% of respondents said they considered switching broadband operators due to Wi-Fi issues during the pandemic.

Despite these troubling indicators, there were several positive findings for broadband operators. In addition to the 80% preference for broadband operators to include home Wi-Fi gear as part of their broadband service, 58% of consumers said they would consider upgrading to a faster tier of Internet service if their broadband operator offered a premium Wi-Fi system that guaranteed both faster and consistent Wi-Fi in every room of their home. Of those who would consider upgrading, 70% said they would be willing to pay at least $5/€5/£5 extra for faster and consistent Wi-Fi in every room of their home. Notably, 86% expect the fastest Internet package to come equipped with a whole-home Wi-Fi system that would guarantee coverage in every room.

Another key finding could inform new Smart Wi-Fi business models for broadband operators aimed at employers. 39% of respondents said they were reimbursed by their employer for new Wi-Fi gear they purchased during the pandemic, and 32% of respondents said their broadband subscription was subsidized by their employer. There is also a high level of interest for additional services, such as advanced security. Of those not already paying for it, 36% would be willing to pay extra for advanced security, and the remaining 64% expect it to be included as part of their broadband package.

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