Research: US lockdown drives broadband service upgrades

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According to research from actionable intelligence firm The Diffusion Group (TDG), 7 per cent of US broadband households upgraded their service in April 2020, a rate that varies dramatically relative to the number of children under 18 living at home.

Only 4 per cent of broadband households without children under 18 at home upgraded their Internet service in April. Children in the home, however, acted as a multiplier. The upgrade rate was 2.4 times greater (at 9.7 per cent) among single-child households, 3.4 times greater (13.7 per cent) among two-child households, and 5.3 times greater (20.9 per cent) among those with three or more children at home; this according to TDG’s recent survey of 1,995 US adult broadband users.

As to the drivers for April upgrades, those with multiple children at home were more likely to:

  • Increase use of OTT SVoD services such as Netflix (61 per cent vs. 48 per cent among single-child and 44 per cent among no-child households);
  • Have more household members using the Internet simultaneously (61 per cent vs. 56 per cent and 38 per cent);
  • While working from home, require a faster speed of service (57 per cent vs. 52 per cent and 46 per cent);
  • Increase the use of PC/console gaming (50 per cent vs. 44 per cent and 36 per cent); and
  • Need immediate access to news related to Covid-19 (32 per cent vs. 26 per cent and 20 per cent).

“Each of these factors rise in significance as the number of users and time spent in-home increases,” notes Michael Greeson, TDG president and principal analyst.

When asked if the importance of a home broadband service had changed since the Coronavirus pandemic was declared, responses were tied strongly to the number of children at home. Fifty-six per cent of households without children under 18 at home said that having a broadband connection had become more important during the pandemic (31 per cent “significantly” so). This rate was much higher among single-child households (69 per cent top-2, 42 per cent “significantly” so), and even greater among households with multiple children (72 per cent top-2, 46 per cent “significantly” so).


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