Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

U.S. Broadband Users are Satisfied with Less

All Internet access isn't the same. In fact, U.S. consumers are becoming aware of the limitations that some broadband service connections provide, particularly in regard to available bandwidth, according to the latest market study by In-Stat.

The amount of bandwidth that is available to a broadband data service end-user has become important, the high-tech market research firm says. The more bandwidth an Internet service offers, the faster the end-user can access multimedia-rich web sites and download files.

"As a general rule of thumb in the broadband world, higher bandwidth is better," says Mike Paxton, In-Stat analyst. "Consumers readily recognize this fact, and many of them are actively looking for a broadband service that will increase the amount of bandwidth that they can use."

Granted, that assessment isn't profound. However, up until recently, most American consumers still weren't aware that their peers in the leading European and Asia-Pacific markets already get double and triple the U.S. bandwidth norm -- and in some cases, for much less money.

In order to determine U.S. residential broadband speeds, In-Stat recently surveyed over 700 broadband households. These households use several different types of broadband access technologies, to include cable modem service, DSL, Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH), satellite broadband, and fixed wireless. A key part of this survey consisted of the households taking a broadband speed-test administered by an online bandwidth measurement site.

The research covers the U.S. market for residential broadband services. It details consumer survey results about the amount of bandwidth currently available to residential broadband end-users in the United States. It covers the type of broadband access technology (i.e., cable modem, DSL, etc.) being used, the company providing the service, the download and upload speeds of the end-users broadband connection, and how much they are paying for broadband service.

The results of this In-Stat study include:

- The average downstream speed of a U.S. broadband connection is 3.8Mbps, while the average upstream speed is only about 980Kbps.

- FTTH connections offer the fastest broadband speeds, followed by cable modem and DSL connections. The average downstream FTTH speed was 8.8 Mbps, while cable modem connections averaged 4.9 Mbps and telco DSL averaged 2.1 Mbps.

- The average monthly price for broadband service is currently just over $38.

- Ignorance is apparently still bliss in most parts of the U.S. market -- over 83 percent of respondents to the In-Stat consumer survey stated they were either "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with their current connection.