A new study commissioned by CityFibre suggests that full fibre uptake could improve by 40%

The telecoms industry is well known for its plethora of acronyms and esoteric terminology, but now new research is suggesting that the unclear or lack of labelling around broadband technologies could be greatly impeding the switch to full fibre.

A new report by WIK-Consult on behalf of CityFibre suggests that providing clear labels and information surrounding broadband products could lead to a 40% increase in take-up of full fibre. The report is intended to help inform the government taskforce GigaTAG, which is currently considering various approaches to driving up adoption of gigabit-capable broadband throughout the UK. 

The report draws data from a consumer survey and a conjoint study involving a representative sample of 3,000 consumers, conducted by YouGov, finding that the majority (52%) of respondents believed they already had full fibre, even though 82% of them were living in areas where full fibre was not yet available.

This public confusion surrounding broadband technology and terminology extended beyond the term full fibre, but into those used to describe various service speeds. Nearly half of respondents selected ‘Don’t know’ when asked what speeds the terms ‘Gigabit’ (40%), ‘Ultrafast’ (46%), and ‘Superfast’ (45%) related to. In the cases of ‘ultrafast’ and ‘superfast’, the majority of the remaining respondents significantly overestimated the speeds offered by these technologies.

Clearly, communication to the public surrounding technical broadband terminology needs to improve, with the rewards of doing so being a potentially enormous boost in the push to making the UK gigabit-capable. Assuming a take-up projection of 10% per year over eight years, this 40% increase as a result of effectively labelling could represent an additional 1.6 million homes using full fibre by 2025.

“The huge potential for broadband labelling to improve awareness, trust and take-up of Full Fibre is great news for consumers and for the country,” explained Greg Mesch, CEO at CityFibre. “With nationwide rollout ramping up fast, Full Fibre will soon be within easy reach of most homes and businesses. Now is the time to focus on helping them to switch, so we can unleash the economic benefits of Full Fibre as quickly as possible and bolster the investor confidence needed to complete the nationwide rollout.”

As the study points out in its conclusion, labeling is a simple process that offers a clear win-win for both consumer and supplier.

“The positive effect on take-up is equivalent to an increase in consumers’ willingness to pay for an identical full fibre or gigabit-capable tariff by £2.75 to £3.25 every month. Hence, both the demand and supply side would benefit from addressing confusion and uncertainty in the broadband market,” said the study.


How will full fibre deliver an economic revolution to the UK in the coming years? Find out, at the upcoming online event Gigabit Access

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