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Consumers and Modern Broadband: New Value of Technology

US broadband providers added ~5.2M residential and small business broadband subscriptions in 2020, a dramatic 78% YoY growth, for a total of 108.7M subscriptions at year end. By contrast, in 2018 and 2019 the US broadband market grew by an estimated 2.3 and 2.9M residential and small business subscriptions respectively.
2021 was another hot year for broadband providers. In Q1 2021 alone, US broadband providers added an estimated 1.6M residential and small business broadband subscriptions – over half of the total additions in both 2018 and 2019.
As many as 40% of office workers may continue to work remotely either fully or on a part-time hybrid basis. A large segment of consumers continues to work remotely and require high uplink. While the number of full-time remote workers will decrease as vaccinations continue to roll out and it becomes safe to return to offices, many workplaces will offer hybrid working situations to employees.   New networking solutions promise to segment work and personal traffic in employees’ homes, securing corporate networks while also granting employees privacy.
Fast, reliable uplink speeds are of key importance to subscribers – and impact competitiveness and deployment trends. With continuing remote work, growing adoption of cloud gaming services, and many consumers more comfortable using video conferencing and video calling to communicate, the importance of uplink will remain elevated compared to 2019 and earlier. ISPs offering high uplink will operate at a competitive advantage. ISPs should prioritize increasing uplink speeds, and market the benefit of high uplink and low latency to consumers. Wired service providers, particularly those with fiber deployments, operate at an advantage compared to new entrants in the satellite space, MNOs offering 5G at home, and WISPs.
Beyond network evolution, ISPs are offering new services to residential customers and the MDU space at the network edge. ISPs are increasingly deploying router/gateway based services to their subscriber footprints. These services make use of agents running directly on customers’ routers, as well as a hybrid edge/cloud computing model, to offer services such as advanced device recognition and parental controls, smart optimized Wi-Fi, whole-home cybersecurity, or Wi-Fi motion sensing. In the bulk market, MDUs are increasingly interested in managed Wi-Fi deployments – both as a valuable amenity for residents and to better support and enable smart apartment technology.
I'm excited to join NCTC this week at the Independent Show to learn more about the rural broadband market. So, so much to talk about!
This is an excerpt from Parks Associates research library covering the US broadband market. Thank you for reading our research. If you have any comments, please share them. We appreciate the support of our work.
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