Broadband services in good shape even in recession: market study

Consumers are unwilling to part with their broadband services at home even in the midst of the economic downturn, preferring to cut spending on things like dining out and leisure travel, according to a series of recent studies sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent.

These findings were uncovered as part of a global study exploring the impact of the economic recession on spending for telecom services and the role broadband services can play in promoting global economic growth and social welfare. The study, conducted by of Alcatel-Lucent's Market Advantage Program (MAP) - in co-operation with market research firms Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates and Ipsos MediaCT - employed statistical analysis to determine how consumers prioritise household spending, given a recessionary mindset, comparing the relative value of a wide variety of specific fee-based services. 

Broadband services appear to be nearly recession-proof, with 84 percent of consumers identifying broadband as an essential network service and therefore the least likely target for spending cuts.

The studies also showed that more consumers globally are planning to subscribe to and/or upgrade their broadband services, even while reducing spending in other areas. Key factors driving this preference include a desire to reduce the cost and travel time associated with commuting, coupled with a preference for greener alternatives. In developed countries, respondents also noted a growing dependence on the web as an information source, business tool, social network and entertainment venue.

''This clearly shows that people across the world rely on broadband services as a central part of their social and economic lives,'' said Tim Krause, chief marketing officer for Alcatel-Lucent. ''As the world looks at ways to address the twin challenges of economic growth and climate change, our research shows that broadband and the digital economy must absolutely be at the top of decision making agendas.''

The research indicated that attitudes about broadband cut across regions and socio-economic strata; however it also revealed distinctions in attitudes about the economy between consumers in high-growth markets and those in more developed markets.