ISPreview Study Finds UK Consumers Expect Gigabit Broadband Speeds
The latest ISPreview.co.uk survey of over 2,300 Internet connected consumers in the United Kingdom has found that 29% of respondents expect to "need" Gigabit (c.1000 Megabits per second) broadband speeds in 5 years' time and 20% will be happy with 300-500Mbps.
Both of the top fastest voted speeds are notably quicker than the Government's current starting definition for "superfast broadband" (24Mbps) and well above the proposed 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (the USO is expected to be introduced by 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%
"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," said ISPreview.co.uk's Founder, Mark Jackson.
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 around 60-70% of the country covered (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%
"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," added Jackson.
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 above 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."
"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," concluded Jackson.