U.S. Consumers Opposed To Bandwidth Caps

    October 1, 2008

A new survey of U.S. consumers conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) finds that consumers have a much different view of broadband access and telecom policy that is at odds with many telecom policy makers.

The majority (94%) of respondents see value in broadband service providers (BSP) that dynamically allocate premium bandwidth for some types of traffic, such as video, VoIP, and gaming.

More than half (54%) would actively seek to change service providers if another BSP offered this service and 26 percent would be willing to pay additional fees for premium bandwidth services.

The overwhelming majority (81%) are opposed to the idea of establishing a bandwidth cap and charging for use above the cap. Fifty-one percent would try to change service providers if their BSP implemented bandwidth caps. Light and moderate users are even more against capping and metering than heavy users.

Eighty-three percent said they either don’t know what a gigabyte is or have no idea how many they use. Ninety-five percent said that those who use more bandwidth should not have to pay more.

"While some of the results of this survey were in line with expectations, others were significantly at odds with prevailing wisdom," said Matt Davis, director of multiplay research at IDC.

"Specifically, consumers continue to be protective of their privacy but are adamantly opposed to bandwidth caps and keenly interested in premium bandwidth services. These last two points may come as a surprise to those believing that bandwidth caps are inevitable and that consumers are unwilling to pay more for better services."