Airties survey discerns skew in home Wi-Fi expectations post-pandemic

Sept. 7, 2021
"Consumers value home Wi-Fi more than ever and 80% would prefer in-home Wi-Fi gear be provided as a service by their broadband operator rather than purchased through retail," claims Airties.
Pixabay / Ricardo_Duque
Wifi Ricardo Duque

According to a recent survey commissioned by Airties as announced on Sept. 2, consumers said they strongly prefer their broadband operator take the lead in ensuring a quality Wi-Fi experience, with 80% saying they would rather their broadband subscription included home Wi-Fi networking gear instead of purchasing it themselves through retail.

With the rise in remote working and learning, Airties, among the most widely deployed suppliers of managed Wi-Fi platforms to service providers globally, added that 58% of survey respondents across the U.S., U.K. and Germany said they encountered more home Wi-Fi issues than before the COVID-19 pandemic, and a remarkable 55% said they had daily issues with their home Wi-Fi.

The survey of 1,525 respondents across the U.S., U.K and Germany, who either had to work or learn from home over the past year, illustrates how the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed consumers’ expectations for home Wi-Fi, said Airties.

Unsurprisingly, the provider reports that 90% of people said they are using their home Wi-Fi more now than ever, with, at the top end of the scale, almost half of Americans (48%) using their Wi-Fi for an additional 7-10+ hours per day, compared to 21% of Germans and 36% of Brits.

As people sought out quieter places to work or study, the survey found that 65% were using Wi-Fi in unusual places in their homes, such as garages, attics, and patios. This correlates with the 56% who said they have areas in their home where Wi-Fi does not work well, and demonstrates a significant market need for whole-home Wi-Fi solutions.

“During this unprecedented time, people have come to rely on and value their home Wi-Fi more than ever,” said Philippe Alcaras, CEO of Airties. “We have crossed an inflection point where home Wi-Fi is as vital as electricity for sustaining our way of life –keeping us productive, informed, entertained, and connected. Even as many countries begin opening more, reliance on home Wi-Fi has forever changed. Trends like the ‘enterprisation’ of the home, remote learning and telemedicine are here to stay, and with that comes significant opportunities and challenges for broadband operators around the globe.”

Implications for broadband operators

According to the survey, 85% of respondents said they value or rely upon their home Wi-Fi more now than before the pandemic, and an encouraging 75% overall indicated that their broadband operator responded well during the pandemic.

Nonetheless, 63% said they called to complain about their Wi-Fi and 27% of those respondents said their broadband operator had to organize a technician visit to their home. Of those who did not call to complain, more than a quarter were “silent sufferers” who said they would have liked to call their broadband operator to help fix their Wi-Fi issues but did not because of the time and effort it would require.

Moreover, Airties noted that a disconcerting 49% of respondents said they considered switching broadband operators due to Wi-Fi issues during the pandemic. Despite these troubling indicators, there were several positive findings in the survey for broadband operators, according to Airties.

For instance, in addition to the 80% preference for broadband operators to include home Wi-Fi gear as part of their broadband service, 58% of consumers said they would consider upgrading to a faster tier of Internet service if their broadband operator offered a premium Wi-Fi system that guaranteed both faster and consistent Wi-Fi in every room of their home. Of those who would consider upgrading, 70% said they would be willing to pay at least $5/€5/£5 extra for faster and consistent Wi-Fi in every room of their home.

Notably, 86% said they expect the fastest Internet package to come equipped with a whole-home Wi-Fi system that would guarantee coverage in every room. Another key finding could inform new Smart Wi-Fi business models for broadband operators aimed at employers, contends Airties. To wit, 39% of respondents said they were reimbursed by their employer for new Wi-Fi gear they purchased during the pandemic, and 32% of respondents said their broadband subscription was subsidized by their employer.

Airties said the survey showed that there is also a high level of interest for additional services, such as advanced security. Of those not already paying for it, 36% of those polled said they would be willing to pay extra for advanced security, and the remaining 64% expect it to be included as part of their broadband package. All these details and more, including the geographical breakdown and additional indicators on device and app usage, are available in the new Airties report.

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