Why bother paying for wired Internet if you can get by on your mobile data plan and free Wi-Fi hotspots? The Wall Street Journal reports that consumer surveys show that “around 1% of U.S. households stopped paying for home Internet subscriptions and relied on wireless access instead” last year while just 0.4% did the same for cable television services. In the place of expensive home wired Internet services, the Journal says that these broadband cord cutters are “taking advantage of the proliferation of Wi-Fi hot spots and fast new wireless networks that have made Web connections on smartphones and tablets ubiquitous,” a strategy that likely only works for users who don’t consume a lot of data since both Verizon and AT&T both enforce data caps on their LTE services.
This trend should not be looked at as a positive, however. As GigaOm’s Stacey Higginbotham writes, cutting the cord on wired broadband is really the last thing we should want to see right now since wired broadband is really the only Internet service capable of delivering high-bandwidth next-generation applications to homes, schools and businesses.
“As more devices get connected, broadband will become more than just access to Facebook,” Higginbotham writes. “It will be access to healthcare, to education, to entertainment and to our relationships. And it will allow smarter devices in our homes to connect, get and share useful data. Our regulators, our innovators and our ISPs need to see that. Otherwise, we’ll be sipping our lives through cocktail straws and marveling at those who invested in the firehose of innovation that superfast wireline broadband can provide.”