3 WiFi trends impacting today’s home internet industry
Written by Erin Penney
Fast and reliable broadband at home has become the lifeline to millions for work, education, socialization, and entertainment. As our society continues to shift over the coming years, we’ll likely see a permanent change in these practices.
This new environment means new opportunities for ISPs—and new responsibilities, too. As consumer dependence on home networks rises, ISPs will need to ensure new levels of reliability, security, and trust with their subscribers. And the biggest hurdle to making good on that responsibility is subscribers’ WiFi experience.
Here are some of the biggest trends impacting ISPs’ ability to deliver quality WiFi experiences.
The FCC confirms that fixed broadband subscribership is on the rise, with total fixed connections consistently increasing for the last five years.
The increasing popularity of fixed broadband subscriptions owes a lot to the fact that the industry is seeing a massive improvement in the quality of available connections. For example, the number of connections that can handle speeds of 100 Mbps has increased by a factor of six just since 2015.
As this trend carries on, it’s becoming harder for ISPs to use speeds as a differentiator simply because of the growing availability.
It’s also unlikely that this trend is going to slow down. In the U.S., for example, broadband speeds have become a major focus for government programs, which are set to pour billions of dollars into improving infrastructure and available speeds further.
Especially in the U.S., we’re starting to see a significant increase in grants being designated to help improve broadband access—including reliability, higher speeds, and affordability. Much like the existing issue of higher demand for speeds, this is going to force ISPs to find other ways to differentiate their services; lower prices and higher speeds will soon be the rule, not the exception.
Though ISPs may be able to advertise through speeds in certain markets for a little while, this funding is going to target the least-served demographics first. This will rapidly influence consumer expectations around what’s available.
With greater speeds comes the need for ISPs to find new ways to differentiate themselves from one another. One strategy is to ensure WiFi is optimal and does not become the bottleneck of the broadband pipe.
That said, ensuring WiFi doesn’t bottleneck your service is harder than one might think because of the final trend:
Delivering WiFi guarantees requires ISPs to lay a strong foundation by delivering the best installation. The problem is that ISPs have insufficient visibility into the installation process to start with.
It’s not exactly news that installations are a blind spot for many ISPs, and this happens for three key reasons.
One, the installation process isn’t well-documented—so ISPs and support teams don’t have access to records after the fact. This means that for every single installation, support agents need to start with a blank slate the first time a subscriber calls in.
Two, technicians often receive inconsistent training and processes, which means that—especially in the case of third-party technician services—it’s next to impossible to guarantee consistent installations. This trickles down into more issues for the ISP down the line related to WiFi connectivity.
Three, subscribers don’t know their networks and don’t have the resources to get to know their networks—which means they don’t get why they can’t insist that a router or pod goes into the ductwork, where they can’t see it, rather than on a bookshelf.
Together, these challenges mean that:
So what can ISPs do to minimize the impact of these trends?
Download our latest whitepaper and find out more.