No Surprise: Survey Shows U.S. Consumers Hate Broadband Caps

[qi:100] It should hardly come as a surprise to anyone — but nevertheless a survey conducted by International Data Corporation on behalf of Zeugma Systems, a company that makes an edge router for broadband networks, shows that consumers simply hate bandwidth caps and will likely switch to another carrier if they have the option. The survey polled 787 U.S. consumers. Here are some key findings of the survey:

  • 81 percent do not like the idea of establishing a bandwidth cap and charging for use above the cap.
  • 51 percent would try to change service providers if their BSP imposed bandwidth caps.
  • 83 percent say that do not know what a gigabyte or have no idea how many gigabytes they use.
  • Even light users are opposed to the whole idea of bandwidth capping.
  • Only 5 percent said unequivocally that “those who use more should pay more.”

This data is pretty close to the findings of a poll conducted by us earlier this year. Ninety-one percent of 1,159 voters said that they would switch to another ISP, while 6 percent said they would not switch. Comcast is the biggest proponent of metered broadband, with Time Warner being a close second.

In light of this data, AT&T and Verizon (and Best Buy) should make it a point to emphasize that it is cable companies and not they who are capping bandwidth and get people to switch. Maybe that would be the kind of spanking that would bring cable companies to their senses. That said, the larger issue is that the FCC and our government have helped create a broadband duopoly that has almost always worked against the consumers. We need to fix that issue before we can address anything else.

Back to the survey: about 95 percent of those surveyed said that they would happily pay for more premium bandwidth services if they can get it for services such as video, VoIP, gaming and telecommuter VPNs. Around 54 percent would switch service providers if a competitive service offered a premium tier, while another 26 percent said they would pay their service provider an additional fee for premium bandwidth services.

Take that last paragraph with a pinch of salt: this dovetails nicely with the kind of traffic management gear Zeugma is trying to sell to the carriers.