Thursday, October 25, 2007

Think Symmetrical: Change the Way You Market Broadband

As usual, the folks over at Parks Associates are on top of things when it comes to the latest trends in consumers' digital habits.

Verizon has announced a new FiOS broadband offering to their East Coast customers -- Internet service that offers 20 Mbps both up and down. The pricing is competitive to existing cable broadband offerings, but it marks the beginning of a shift in how we're going to see broadband services marketed. For years, Internet service providers have promoted fast download speeds, with little emphasis on their upload offering.

Now, based on the current trends in online gaming, unlimited online email and storage, and video and photo sharing, consumers will want fast uploads in addition to fast download speeds. It stands to reason that marketing very responsive upload capabilities could start to become a critical differentiator. Along these lines, Parks has conducted surveys exploring consumers' digital media habits that show "the growth of the media habits that are likely to drive consumers toward a symmetrical broadband service."

Another Parks study from 2006 shows that some consumers would even pay a slight premium for a symmetrical broadband service. Of course, video gamers and "creative computing consumers" (photo and video editors) are the groups with the strongest interest in such a service. The study also found similar trends in consumers' interest in online storage - another applications that would benefit from symmetrical broadband.

As Parks' Kurt Scherf also notes, "Verizon indicates that symmetrical services are going to be applicable far beyond entertainment applications -- they view such services as remote video monitoring and digital health as also important for driving symmetrical broadband. We're keeping an eye on applications like these as well."

Property owners should do the same ... especially considering the new competition for your residents' attention and dollars that will result from next week's FCC ruling.

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