August 4, 2021
Consumer Reports released new survey results this week, and contrary to the headlines, it shows the majority of U.S. broadband customers surveyed are happy with their broadband service across a variety of factors.
Throughout the pandemic, America’s broadband providers have remained committed to delivering high-speed and affordable connectivity to communities across the country when it mattered most. As they continue their hard work of expanding the reach of their networks, the new data reinforces that these efforts and investments are paying off for consumers.
Finding: Broadband Networks are Resilient and Reliable
- 80% find their internet to be reliable, with more than half viewing it as very good or excellent.
- 43% are relying on the internet more than pre-pandemic levels. Even with that increased usage, 84% did not need to upgrade their service to accommodate higher bandwidth needs at home.
This is the direct result of broadband providers investing nearly $1.8 trillion over the last several decades to build networks with the flexibility, resiliency and capacity to meet increasing consumer demand. Because of this investment, consumers today are able to rely on their home broadband connection for everyday activities like telework, remote learning, telehealth, shopping and connecting virtually with family and friends.
Finding: Consumers are Satisfied with Service Speeds and Value
- 81% of consumers are satisfied with their speed and connectivity, with 53% viewing it as very good or excellent.
- Internet Service Providers are deploying—and Americans are embracing—next generation networks with only 5% still using legacy copper DSL or dial-up.
- The majority of consumers (57%) are satisfied with the overall value of their service.
- 76% of consumers surveyed find their service affordable, with an equal percentage finding their monthly bill easy to understand.
These findings are in line with our own Broadband Pricing Index Report, which shows a trend from 2015 to 2020 of increasing broadband speeds at lower costs. Our latest installment of the report shows the trend continuing during the pandemic from 2020 to 2021.
Finding: Determining Barriers to Broadband Adoption
USTelecom members are committed to universal connectivity, and we know broadband adoption remains a challenge for some. That’s why providers are investing in innovative solutions and working with government partners to provide more affordable services to consumers in need. This survey adds interesting insights into why people without high-speed broadband choose not to adopt it:
- Wireless substitutability (41%) is the number one reason cited for non-adoption.
- While affordability is a barrier for 32% of non-adopters, 68% cite other factors such as availability (25%) and simply not wanting service (16%) as other drivers of consumer behavior.
These are important takeaways to consider as industry and government work to identify the best ways to provide consumers with what they want and need when it comes to affordability and availability.
Finding: American Broadband is Competitive
Finally, in addition to having access to quality broadband services, the majority of consumers surveyed reported they have choice when it comes to broadband providers. In fact, 55% report having between two and five choices, 26% reporting a single provider, and 19% are just unsure. This key point is made clear especially when comparing America’s broadband industry to foreign markets. Studies show that U.S. consumers enjoy twice the facilities-based competition as their EU counterparts as a result of a policy framework that incentivizes private investment over government regulation.
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Consumer Reports provides new insights into how the broadband industry’s continued investment and innovation is producing a positive experience for consumers. We are committed to working alongside government and other community partners to ensure consumers across the country have access to the 21st century broadband services they need to thrive in today’s world.