Telcos bungle broadband message – consumers are confused

22 Nov 2010

In a harsh reflection of the quality of marketing activities of ISPs and telcos, many European and US consumers do not think that access to ultra-fast broadband would make a difference to their online activities.

This is a sharp rebuke for many well-known telcos who have spent millions of euros and dollars on mass-media campaigns that have failed to win over an online audience to the benefits of higher-speed broadband.

It also places extra pressure on service providers to articulate the consumer benefits of such services in order to stimulate takeup, Analysys Mason said in a new report.

Put simply, the benefits are just not being explained to businesses and consumers.

The report, which studied the telecoms and internet activities of 6,000 consumers, found that almost 40pc of respondents to the survey said that ultra-fast broadband would make no difference to their online activities.

Many consumers also stated that they would not expect the availability of ultra-fast broadband to drive a significant change in the types of application they use.

Poor awareness

“This indicates that many consumers are not aware of the new applications and experiences that would be available to them,” explains Martin Scott, senior analyst at Analysys Mason and author of the report.

“Until such applications appear, service providers may wish to emphasise the positive impact that ultra-fast broadband will have on quality of experience, rather than not-yet-established ‘killer’ applications.”

The cumulative effect of an increasing number of connected devices, which provide home users with more opportunities to consume bandwidth, will add up to a peak level of demand that may not be satisfied with legacy broadband infrastructure.

Many consumers have indicated that sharing their connections with other people in the home is already having a negative impact on their quality of experience. Of survey respondents, 20pc indicated that a 100Mbps connection would mean that they “would not suffer so much from other people in (their) home using the connection at the same time”.

“Service providers should segment the market more intelligently in order to articulate to consumers the benefits of ultra-fast broadband,” says Scott, who also leads Analysys Mason’s Fixed Broadband research programme.

“High-access speeds will appeal to early adopters, but families are likely to be more interested in concurrency – for example, the ability to receive HD content on multiple TV sets while others in the household simultaneously access the internet at high speeds.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years