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Future UK Demand for Ultrafast Broadband Speeds Could be Strong

Monday, May 9th, 2016 (1:18 am) - Score 767
uk internet statistics

A new survey of 2,360 ISPreview.co.uk readers, which questioned how much broadband speed respondents actually think they “NEED” in order to get the most out of the Internet, found that a third claim to need a 100Mbps+ connection and in 5 years’ time a similar proportion will expect 1000Mbps.

The top voted speeds are notably faster than the Government’s current starting definition for “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) and well above the proposed 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (the USO is expected to be introduced by 2020 or possibly sooner).

The survey also explored the question of ‘NEED’ vs ‘DEMAND’ more closely by asking respondents whether they would still pay extra to get a 300Mbps connection today, even if they already had a stable 50Mbps service. Overall 49.2% said “Yes” they would pay extra, while 39.6% voted “No” and 11% were undecided; ISP marketing departments will no doubt be very happy.

It’s worth pointing out that many industry observers tend to view so-called “ultrafast” speeds as starting at 100Mbps+, although there is no official definition and Ofcom has indicated that they may prefer it to start at 300Mbps+ (here).

How much broadband download speed do you think you NEED today (pick closest)?
100Mbps+ – 33.5%
50Mbps – 31.1%
25Mbps – 22.2%
10Mbps – 10.7%
2Mbps – 1.3%
Unsure – 0.9%

How much speed do you expect to NEED in 5 years time (pick closest)?
1000Mbps – 29%
50-100Mbps – 25.4%
300-500Mbps – 20%
200Mbps – 17.1%
25Mbps – 6.2%
Unsure – 2.1%

If you could get a stable 50Mbps today then would you still pay extra to get 300Mbps?
Yes – 49.2%
No – 39.6%
Unsure – 11%

At this point it goes without saying that many people who pass through ISPreview.co.uk are often already in the market for a new provider and as such this can impact the results, as can the perhaps higher proportion of IT minded folk who may be reading our articles.

Otherwise the question of ‘NEED’ remains a complicated one because we all have different requirements, although these days 25Mbps should be enough to do almost everything you could want. But even this may become constrained as 4K video streaming begins to grow (a single 4K stream today requires around 20-30Mbps), especially in a busy family environment, and at that point a 50Mbps or faster service can quickly become more useful.

However many respondents do appear to place a great deal of significance upon being able to take the fastest possible connection, seemingly regardless of whether or not they truly need or could even fully use the speed. For example, Gigabit class connections would certainly be nice to have and very future proof, although people frequently forget that you often can’t take even close to full advantage of it because most online services deliver content at a dramatically slower pace, while WiFi and even some computer hardware may struggle to keep up.

On the other hand all of this talk about ever faster speeds must be incredibly galling for those poor folk still stuck in rural and disadvantaged urban areas, where slow connectivity often remains the norm. Meanwhile this month’s new survey asks about the quality of your ISPs call centre (customer phone support)? Vote Here.

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