Today, the Fiber Broadband Association and RVA, LLC released a new study that reviewed the changing ways that American consumers are using the Internet during the pandemic and the quality of their broadband experience. The study shows dramatic shifts in the use of advanced applications that require both strong upload and download capacity. Researchers found that, while the Internet backbone has held up well, differences in access quality have caused consumers to ration bandwidth and lose productivity.
Key findings include:
- Users have found the Internet crucial for weathering the pandemic – for communication, news, provisioning, entertainment, work, health, and education.
- The use of video conferencing has exploded, with 46% of respondents using it for staying in touch with family, 24% for business, and 16% for educational purposes. Among site flexible workers currently working from home, 68% are using video conferencing.
- Telemedicine is on the rise: 12% of respondents have used video conferencing for healthcare, up from just 2% in 2019.
- The Internet backbone has performed well, with average speeds up compared to spring 2019 data.
- People with lower-performing broadband connections are rationing Internet use inside the home. Among users with the slowest bandwidth and highest latency, 49% reported actions such as asking other family members to curtail Internet use during work video conference calls. They also reported lost time waiting for apps.
“COVID-19 didn’t ‘break’ the Internet and that’s primarily because of the investments made in future-proof, reliable fiber broadband,” said Lisa R. Youngers, President and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association. “High-speed broadband access is essential for mitigating personal and economic damage from this crisis. Yet we clearly need to invest more to improve our infrastructure and bring high-speed fiber broadband access to more consumers.”
The full report is available to members of the Fiber Broadband Association on its website.
About the Fiber Broadband Association
The Fiber Broadband Association is the largest and only trade association in the Americas dedicated to the pursuit of all-fiber-optic network infrastructure to the home, to the business and to everywhere. The Fiber Broadband Association helps providers make informed decisions about how, where, and why to build better broadband networks with fiber optics while working with its members to lead the organization forward, collaborate with industry allies and propel the deployment of fiber networks. Since 2001, these companies, organizations and members have worked with communities and consumers in mind to build a better broadband future here and around the world. Learn more at fiberbroadband.org.