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This Is What Life Might Be Like Without Broadband Monopolies

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:01PM EST
Broadband Internet Competition

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The United Kingdom is apparently a magical land where Scotch eggs can be found on every corner, the Queen’s Guard runs people over, and broadband subscribers actually have options when it comes to choosing a service provider for their home internet. Choices? What on Earth are those?!

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We always talk about broadband internet speeds, and there’s no question that fast home internet service has become a necessity in this day and age. Interestingly though, when people actually have choices and can shop around among several different ISPs, speeds are not their top priority when comparison shopping.

That’s right, price is the No. 1 factor for people shopping for broadband internet service.

A survey conducted by asked people to rate several different factors that impact purchase decisions on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the most important and 1 is the least. Price received an average rating of 8.2 to find its way to the top of the pile, while the existence of usage limits (7.99), data speeds (7.59), contract length (6.98) and voice calling bundles (6.52) rounded out the top five.

“With price the number one consideration when comparing broadband deals, you’d think most of us would be paying as little as possible,” said’s Dan Howdle. “Nothing could be further from the truth, however.”

He continued, “Research we conducted earlier this year found that half of us have never switched broadband provider. Not once. That’s a vast proportion of people stuck in deals they’re almost certainly paying too much for. It’s a sort of collective dissonance, where, on the one hand, we all want to pay less for our broadband, and on the other we can’t be bothered with the hassle of switching broadband providers. We should not be so easily put off.”

Interesting indeed, though it’s hard for us to empathize. Here in the U.S., when people actually do have a choice, it’s typically only between two ISPs that offer similar bundle pricing. The only upside is often the fact that customers can often threaten to switch in order to extend their lower introductory pricing after their one- or two-year introductory pricing is set to expire.

In many areas though — like my house, where Time Warner Cable is the only game in town — there is still only one option for home customers seeking high-speed cable or fiber internet service.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.

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