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Gigabit-capable broadband: which benefits most appeal to consumers?

Summary

Our research has previously identified that some consumers are unwilling to switch to gigabig-capable broadband because they don’t see a benefit to doing so. To help improve uptake of gigabit-capable broadband, our new research with consumers explores the benefits that consumers find most persuasive, to help inform advertising and public information campaigns.

We found that the most persuasive benefit of gigabit-capable broadband described the increase in both reliability and download speed compared to a traditional copper connection. 

When analysed separately, the increased reliability of gigabit-capable broadband was more appealing to consumers than increased speed. This finding held true across a number of sub-groups – including those with slow internet (download speeds of 9Mbps or slower), those with fast internet (download speeds of 25Mbps or faster), those aged 18-34 and both early and late tech adopters. This suggests future messaging about gigabit-capable broadband would benefit from referencing the increase in reliability that consumers will experience. 

We also found that consumers are better able to understand the benefit of increased download and upload speeds when they are provided with an example.

Introduction

By 2025 85% of households should have access to gigabit-capable broadband. However, supply is just one half of the market. In order for it to be a success there needs to be consumer demand and an easy process of adoption. 

In order to help ensure that consumers are enabled to adopt gigabit-capable broadband the Gigabit Take-up Advisory Group (GigaTAG) was convened in August 2020, bringing togetherf Which?, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). The interim GigaTAG report identified that there were a number benefits of gigabit-capable broadband that could be communicated to consumers to persuade them to switch. 

The main aim of this research was to identify which of these messages resonate most with consumers and whether this differed between different groups of consumers. We also wanted to find out what is the optimum combination of communication messages that persuades consumers of the benefits of gigabit-capable broadband.

Methodology

We conducted an online survey with 1,933 consumers who had responsibility for their household broadband (April 2021). 

We showed respondents 10 benefits of gigabit-capable broadband, covering the areas of increased download speed, the potential for increased upload speed, the increase in connection reliability, future proofing, the benefits to online gamers and the benefit for households with multiple users/devices connected. Respondents picked benefits that had (1) the most and (2) the least impact on their desire to take up gigabit. 

We analysed the data to establish which benefits were most persuasive to consumers and r to understand the ideal mix of communication messages that would appeal to the widest range of consumers.

The most convincing benefit overall referenced both increased reliability and increased speed

The benefit consumers ranked the most appealing overall described both the increased reliability and increased download speed of gigabit-capable broadband compared to a traditional connection. The chart below shows the full list of benefits of gigabit-capable broadband, ranked from highest to lowest in terms of their likelihood to have the most impact on consumers to switch to a gigabit-capable  connection.

As shown in table one, this benefit was highest ranked  across a number of sub-groups – including those with slow internet (download speeds of 9Mbps or slower), those with fast internet (download speeds of 25Mbps or faster), those aged 18-34 and 65+.

The increased reliability of gigabit-capable broadband was more appealing to consumers than increased speed

The list of benefits of gigabit-capable broadband we showed to survey respondents included the benefits of increased download speeds and increased reliability shown in isolation. As shown in the above chart, increased reliability (row 2) ranked higher than increased download speeds (rows 3 and 4). This suggests future messaging about gigabit-capable broadband would benefit from referencing the increase in reliability that consumers will experience.

Providing an example makes the benefit of increased speed more understandable

The list of benefits we provided to consumers included separate statements that referenced the increased speed of gigabit-capable broadband, one with an example and one without. Consumers ranked the benefit of increased speed with an example (the ability to download a high definition film in under 1 minute) as more appealing than the straight description of speeds in terms of Gbps without an example. This suggests consumers are better able to understand the benefit of speed when they are provided with an example.

The combination of increased reliability and increased speed is a powerful message

When we explore which combination of messages appeals to the widest group of consumers, in graph two, we find  that  describing the increased reliability and increased speed of gigabit-capable broadband, and provide an example of the benefits of increased speed appeals to the widest range of consumers Using these two messages together would reach  68% of consumers.

It is important to consider future proofing messaging in context

When tested in isolation, the future proofing message which best resonated with consumers was how gigabit-capable broadband will support consumers’ connectivity needs for years to come. However, our analysis found a different future proofing message most increased reach when used alongside the combination of increased speed and reliability. The best message to add to this combination described how the more people that switch to gigabit-capable broadband, the quicker the roll out can happen which will benefit the whole of the UK.

Conclusion

This research shows how the communication of benefits of gigabit-capable broadband can be optimised to persuade consumers to switch. Communication messages that reference both the increased reliability and the increased download speed of gigabit-capable broadband will be the most effective. Consumers are also better able to understand the benefits of a gigabit-capable connection speed if they are provided with an example. Including a range of messaging also makes it possible to reach a wide range of consumers with appealing messages about gigabit-capable broadband.

For more details on this research, please see the full report here.

For research on consumers using a 'gigabit-ready mark' to help them identify gigabit-capable broadband packages, read the article: Icon see clearly now.

Contact us

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please email Georgina Holt at consumerinsight@which.co.uk 

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