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New data shows the top factor for choosing a home broadband provider is NOT cost

Rural Texas (November 1, 2021) – If you were to guess why people chose a particular Internet Service Provider (ISP) over another, you’d likely land on price. But recent Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) research says otherwise.

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“We took data gathered from 4,410 households across multiple rural Texas communities in 2020 that reported having at least two choices for home internet service,” said Chris McGovern, Research Director, Connected Nation (CN). "What we learned when comparing the data was although cost was, in fact, the second most common factor in making a decision that the download speeds offered were actually considered most important to more subscribers."

Currently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines high-speed internet, also referred to as broadband, as having 25 Mbps/3 Mbps. The first number is download speed, the second upload speed. 

The FCC provides a broadband speed guide to give consumers a better idea of what that means which you can find by clicking here. For instance, 1 Mbps allows for general browsing and email, 10 Mbps allows for basic file downloading, and 5 to 25 Mbps allows for teleworking or remote learning.

“Although those speeds are relatively good it’s important to point out that many modern-day devices and connected houses that have online controlled devices like an Alexa or Nest thermostat do require higher speeds and larger bandwidths,” explained McGovern. “In addition, 25 Mbps may be good for teleworking, but it doesn’t necessarily allow for more than a few users— if you have a family with kids, remote learning, and parents teleworking, you can see why speeds quickly become so important to homeowners.”

The data were collected through the Connected Community Engagement Program which provides community-tailored Technology Action Plans for expanding broadband access, adoption, and use. The findings of the CN Texas data collection are broken down in three ways: by all responding households, determinants by respondent age, and determinants by household income.

Looking at the findings by all responding households, download speeds were mentioned by 39.9% of respondents, followed by cost per month for the service (33.6%), providers’ reputations (18.3%), the ability to bundle services (17.1%), upload speeds offered (14.9%), the type of service (platform) offered (13.5%), recommendations from friends and family (11.5%), and the cost of set-up and installation (9.0%). For households with lower incomes, the ability to bundle services and the cost of installation increase dramatically as factors that were considered when they chose their ISP.

Click here or on the image to the right of this article to see the results of the research by age and household income of the respondents.

More details:
Connected Nation (CN) is a national nonprofit working to find innovative solutions for expanding access, adoption, and use of broadband and its related technologies to all people. Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) is the statewide program of CN.

The Connected Community Engagement Program, also called Connected, is a local, collaborative, data-driving technology planning program developed by CN that has helped more then 650 communities nationwide.