Quarter of consumers willing to pay more for faster broadband

24 November 2020 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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With the coronavirus having placed a heightened importance on internet speeds for people across the world, a new survey has found that a large portion of consumers would pay more for improved service. According to the study, British consumers are the most willing to pay a premium for faster broadband.

The state of the UK’s internet connectivity has been a source of major debate over the last year. While advances in broadband technology have the potential to yield super-fast connections to the citizens and businesses of Britain, the laissez-faire approach of the UK Government to the market has left private providers chasing short-term profitability had long left much of the nation’s digital infrastructure frustratingly slow.

The coronavirus has further thrust the state of the nation’s broadband under the microscope. The lockdown months of 2020 have contributed to more and more people working from home – and with Christmas fast approaching, many families are also depending on technology to facilitate a socially distanced festive season. To that end, a new poll from Oliver Wyman has found that UK consumers are more willing to pay more for improved connection speeds than any other nation.

Quarter of UK consumers willing to pay more for faster broadbandOliver Wyman conducted an international survey in October 2020 to capture how views of telecommunications services are changing as the Covid-19 pandemic evolves. The survey involved more than 6,000 participants across France, Germany, Spain, the UAE, the UK and the US.

Of the UK’s respondents, 25% indicated they would be willing to pay more for increased broadband speed as a result of the pandemic. In comparison, 23% of French and German respondents were similarly prepared to pay more for faster internet provision, ahead of 21% of US respondents, 19% of those in the UAE and 14% in Spain.

Uwe Lambrette, a Partner in Oliver Wyman’s Communications, Media, and Technology wing, stated, “The survey findings demonstrate the importance of fast connectivity as remote activities like working from home and socialising online become the new normal. With consumers being ever more demanding in terms of speed, price and customer service, telecommunications companies will need to up their game in all of these areas to gain and retain customers.”

Illustrating the opportunity this presents providers, Oliver Wyman also found that quality of connection is the top reason for choosing a telecommunications providers – at 30% of respondents, compared to price at 25% or customer service at 20%. The key differentiating factor for providers is still the product itself then – and in the UK, around 19% of consumers place more importance in who provides their internet than before 2020.

As there is still little uniform service for the previous generation of internet provision, 5G roll-out does not constitute a differentiator which many UK consumers prioritise. The country is the least enthused of those polled by Oliver Wyman, with around 50% being indifferent to it, compared to the nearest equivalents of 38% in Spain and 37% in France.

Lambrette added, “Providers need to do more work to explain the benefits of 5G, a key evolution in telecommunications services. Showcasing its benefits, for example the notable upgrade in speed, will be crucial for a successful rollout across the various countries surveyed.”