Parks Associates Blog

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Broadband Marketing is about to Shift - Verizon's Symmetric Service Offering

Yesterday, Verizon announced a new FiOS broadband offering to consumers on the East Coast - a 20 Mbps symmetrical broadband service. Not only is this feature interesting insofar as its competitive pricing to existing cable broadband offerings, but it's really is the beginning of a shift in how we're going to see broadband services marketed. For years, cable broadband providers have had the edge in advertising blazing-fast download speeds. Now, given the trends that we're seeing in how consumers want to be able to use fast upload (for uploading and sharing photos and videos, using online storage solutions, playing games, etc.), marketing very responsive upload capabilities starts to become a critical differentiator. Our own Digital Media Habits I and II surveys show some really interesting time-series data showing the growth of the media habits that are likely to drive consumers toward a symmetrical broadband service.

Further, Managing the Digital Home: Installation and Support Services study from 2006 provides some interesting consumer profiling of the types of people who are likely to find a symmetrical (what we termed an "optimized") Internet service compelling - to the point of paying a slight premium. Indeed, it was among active gamers and "creative computing consumers" (those active in editing and sharing photos and videos) where the interest for such a service was strongest. We also found similar trends in asking consumers about their interest in remote storage features - applications that again will benefit from symmetrical broadband.

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.

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