High-Fiber Subs Are Happiest With Broadband, TV: Survey

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People with fiber-to-the-home Internet services report higher satisfaction rates than consumers with cable-modem and DSL services, and FTTH video services similarly beat out satellite and cable TV, according to a survey commissioned by trade group Fiber-to-the-Home Council.

About 71% of FTTH subscribers said they are "very satisfied" with their Internet service, compared with 53% of cable- modem subscribers and 52% of DSL users. Asked about HD television service, 73% of FTTH TV subscribers said they are "very satisfied," compared with 61% for satellite TV customers and 45% for cable.

The survey, conducted by research firm RVA LLC in April and May 2010, polled 1,000 FTTH subscribers and 600 DSL and cable-modem subscribers drawn randomly from an online panel of more than 50,000 consumers.

Part of the higher satisfaction rates for FTTH-based services may be attributed to the fact that consumers who have made the switch to a newer service are predisposed to be happier with it.

Verizon's FiOS network accounts for the bulk of FTTH services in the U.S. As of the end of June, the FiOS network passed 15.9 million premises, and the telco had 3.8 million FiOS Internet customers. As of April 2010, fiber-to-the-home services were available to more than 16% of North American homes and were connected to close to 6 million of them, according to the Fiber-to-the-Home Council.

Meanwhile, the RVA LLC study also found that 41% of broadband subscribers without an FTTH service recognized the term "fiber to the home," compared with 28% who did so in a similar survey in 2009.

When the concept of FTTH was explained, a total of 46% of DSL and cable-modem users said they would likely switch to this service if it was available at suggested price points. About 6% said they would likely take 100-Mbps symmetrical service for $145 monthly, 16% would opt for 20-Mbps symmetrical service for $60 a month, and 24% expressed interest in a 10-Mbps symmetrical service for $40.

The survey also asked respondents to measure and report the speed of their Internet connectivity via Speakeasy.net and found that average FTTH download and upload speeds are higher than those of cable and DSL subscribers.

According to the RVA LLC study, FTTH users currently have a median download speed of 16.6 Mbps and an upload speed of 4.5 Mbps. That makes FTTH download speeds on average 1.5 times as fast as cable modem and 5.7 times as fast as DSL; on upload, fiber-to-the-home broadband is 3.2 times as fast as cable modem and 5.7 times as fast as DSL.

The survey found 13% of FTTH users operate a home-based business. Based on survey data regarding revenue received from home-based businesses connected to fiber-to-the-home networks, RVA estimated that increased efficiencies from FTTH may add as much as $9.9 billion to the U.S. home-based business economy.

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