Not Now… Why Can’t I Connect!

Image from: Ljupco Smokovski / Shutterstock

As I sit here on a Sunday afternoon browsing the web for Christmas gifts, checking email, going on Facebook to see what friends are up to and looking up recipes for dinner, I become aware of how reliant I am on my Wi-Fi Service.  While I have my TV on, I’m not really paying attention to it, which gets me thinking…If I had to choose between having Internet or TV service, which one would I pick?  To be honest, this isn’t much of a competition in my mind; Internet would be my preferred choice, hands down.  But does my reliance on Internet line up with what the average consumer thinks?  The answer is yes!  Compete recently fielded a study (n=1892) asking online consumers which telecom service they found more important.  While 50% of consumers stated that they found each service was of equal importance, 46% found that Internet service was more important to them than TV service.  It’s not earth-shattering news that consumers find the internet important, but the fact that nearly half of consumers find it more important than TV… this is a remarkable shift in the market which I believe will continue to grow.

But what is driving this trend?   One contributing factor is the widespread emergence of broadband connected devices.  According to that same Compete survey (n=1892), broadband subscribers average 2.8 regularly connected devices in their home.  This can include a range of devices including computers, laptops, gaming consoles, tablets, smartphones, Blu-ray players, handheld games, and Smart TVs.

Another contributing factor that can’t be ignored is the shift in the TV content landscape to internet based TV solutions. With existing nontraditional TV platforms like Hulu.com and Netflix to the emergence of internet connected TVs this is an evolving trend that will only intensify consumers’ reliability on home broadband service and contribute to an overlap in the roles that broadband and pay television services play in consumer’s homes.

It is clear why internet is becoming more and more important in consumers’ minds, but has this changed what attributes consumers consider most important when thinking about broadband services?  All signs are pointing to yes!  This Compete study also revealed that 91% of broadband customers described internet service reliability as “very” to “extremely” important.  Comparably, the study showed that only 76% of broadband customers felt as strongly about the speed of their broadband service and 57% of broadband customers did not even know the speed of their current service.  The following chart shows the percentage of survey respondents who selected “very” or “extremely” when characterizing their importance and satisfaction with these three broadband attributes:

With industry experts continually debating the market erosion of pay television and nearly half of consumers stating that internet is more important than TV, this shift in the market cannot be ignored. As the average consumer continues to engage in more and more activities that rely on internet connectivity, it only makes sense that reliability becomes the critical selling point for shoppers when they are considering broadband services. Marketing internet speed has been a standard telecom industry practice, but reliability is what the majority of consumers are looking for now.