Internet Users Don't Know How Much Bandwidth They Use, But Still Dislike the Broadband Cap

Paul Lilly

A new survey conducted by Zeugma Systems reveals that more than 8 out of 10 U.S. broadband customers disapprove of having their bandwidth capped with fees for going over a predetermined limit. Judging by the comments in previous news stories we've run on the subject, it's the same sentiment shared by many Maximum PC readers. But unlike the latter, 83 percent of those polled also were clueless about what a gigabyte is or much bandwidth they're currently consuming. Despite the lack of information, just over half of the respondents claimed they would switch service providers if their ISPs implemented a broadband cap.

"These results are both an opportunity and a warning for BSPs," said Kevin Walsh, Zeugma Systems vice president of marketing. "The opportunity is that consumers are signaling a willingness to pay more for dedicated bandwidth over and above basic high speed internet for such services as premium internet video, VOIP, gaming, and corporate VPN access. The warning is a clear distaste for bandwidth caps. At a minimum, providers moving forward with bandwidth capping schemes may want to consider a more intelligent and flexible application of caps.”

Today marks the beginning of Comcast's 250GB cap, which has drawn ire from those who fear it might not be enough, particularly as HD streaming moves to the forefront of digital distribution. But if this latest poll is any indication, the cap size may not even matter to the majority of subscribers, it's the fact that there's a cap in place to begin with. That perception may prove to be an even bigger challenge than trying to convince subscribers that 250GB is a lot of bandwidth.

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