UK Consumer Demand for Superfast Broadband Speeds – one third of us want 100Mbps

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One third of us don't get advertised broadband speeds
One third of us don’t get advertised broadband speeds

How much broadband speed do consumers in the United Kingdom actually NEED in order to get the most out of the Internet?

That’s the question which was posed by broadband information website ISPreview.co.uk in a new online reader survey of  2,360 UK Internet users. It found that 33.5% believe they need 100Mbps+ (Megabits per second) and another 31% chose 50Mbps.

Both of the top voted speeds are notably faster than the Government’s starting definition for “superfast broadband” (24Mbps) and well above the proposed 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (the USO is expected to be introduced in 2020).

How much broadband download speed do you think you NEED today (pick closest)?
100Mbps+ – 33.5%
50Mbps – 31.1%
25Mbps – 22.2%
10Mbps – 10.7%
2Mbps – 1.3%
Unsure – 0.9%

Says ISPreview.co.uk’s Founder, Mark Jackson: “The question of ‘need’ is a complicated one because we all have different requirements; although these days 25Mbps should be enough to do almost everything you could want.”

“But even this may become constrained as 4K video streaming begins to grow (a single 4K stream today requires around 20-30Mbps), especially in a busy family environment with lots of devices all sucking from the same connection. At that point a 50Mbps or faster service may be more useful.”

The survey also asked respondents how much broadband speed they expected to NEED in 5 years’ time, which is roughly when BT’s new 300-500Mbps G.fast technology and Virgin Media’s similarly fast cable network should have combined to cover around 60-70% of the country (mostly urban areas). However nearly a third of respondents believe they’ll need a Gigabit (1000Mbps) to do everything they want online by 2020/21.

1000Mbps – 29%
50-100Mbps – 25.4%
300-500Mbps – 20%
200Mbps – 17.1%
25Mbps – 6.2%
Unsure – 2.1%

Adds ISPreview.co.uk’s Founder, Mark Jackson: “Gigabit connections would certainly be nice to have and very future proof, although people frequently forget that you often can’t take even close to full advantage of it because most internet services deliver content at a dramatically slower pace.

“Similarly computer hardware and WiFi may also struggle to keep pace with such speeds.”

The survey also explored the question of ‘NEED’ vs ‘DEMAND’ more closely by asking respondents whether they would still pay extra to get a 300Mbps connection today, even if they already had a stable 50Mbps service. Overall 49% said “Yes” they would pay extra, while 40% voted “No” and 11% were undecided.

“What’s abundantly clear is that many consumers place a great deal of significance upon being able to take the fastest possible connection, seemingly regardless of whether or not they truly need it. As a result the ISPs and marketing departments that are able to promote such ultrafast speeds will be in a stronger position going forwards, assuming the end result is still affordable.”

Concludes Jackson: “On the other hand all of this talk about ever faster speeds must be incredibly galling for those poor folk still stuck in rural and digitally disadvantaged areas where slow connectivity remains the norm. We should perhaps be focused on resolving that problem first.”

Chris Price
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