Thursday, May 14, 2015

Gigabit Upgrades Have Almost Nothing to Do with End User Need

It might still be true that most users do not actually “need” gigabit access, as many, including Comcast, argued in 2013. It might still be true that most users will see little actual improvement in most of their experiences, after buying a gigabit service.

But “need” is not always the driver. “Perception” and “marketing” also are reasons to widely supply gigabit connections. That is, in large part, why Comcast now is upgrading virtually 100 percent of its 21 million U.S. access locations to a gigabit, by the end of the first quarter of 2016, and a substantial proportion of sites in 2015.

Perception is why Comcast is upgrading perhaps 85 percent of all its locations to 2 Gbps, on the same time frame. Perception still is a concrete driver of business strategy. Actual end user need has almost nothing to do with the gigabit and 2-Gbps upgrades.

At the moment, access at speeds above 10 Mbps to 12 Mbps per user have almost no positive impact on experience.

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