Businesses see fixed broadband charges rise as average bandwidth increases

Latest roundup of global fixed broadband arena shows residential consumers reaping speed and cost rewards of fibre proliferation, while B2B subscribers see little improvement in bandwidth versus monthly charges

In the 12 months to the end of the second quarter of 2022, business fixed broadband subscribers continued to struggle with rising monthly charges, with the average monthly charge increasing by 12% and the average downstream speed standing at 426 Mbps compared with residential tariff averages of 464 Mbps, according to the latest Global broadband tariff benchmark report from Point Topic.

By contrast, the report also saw global residential fixed line broadband subscribers witness average monthly charges decrease by 4% on copper, cable and fibre-based tariffs, while across the three technologies the average bandwidth increased by 22% year-on-year, due to the increased innovation and proliferation of fibre-based networks.

Among the other main trends revealed in the report were that charges for residential fibre-based products decreased by 5% as downstream averages increased by 17% to reach 549 Mbps; cable-based products saw a 4% reduction in prices year-on-year, with average bandwidth speeds increasing to 433 Mbps; and copper-based tariff charges remained static but saw a decrease in average speeds from 13 to 11 Mbps year-on-year. Gigabit-capable tariffs continue to rise, with 456 residential gigabit tariffs (with downstream bandwidth of at least 900 Mbps) available in Q2, compared with 397 in Q4 2021 and 367 in Q2 2021.

Meanwhile, fibre-enabled business products’ monthly charges remained static at $241 PPP year-on-year, while average speeds increased by 17% to reach 515 Mbps; cable service charges decreased by 14% but increased bandwidth has slowed to reach an average of 377 Mbps; and copper prices have dropped but so have average downlink speeds, with an average cost per Mbps coming in at $13.00 PPP.

Drilling down on trends for the business arena, the study found that even though there was what it called a “significant” jump in the average bandwidth of fibre-based broadband products, the overall average monthly cost of fibre connections has remained static year-on-year. This was attributed to the wider availability of fibre-based products offering even greater bandwidths equalising pricing in the business broadband sector.

Point Topic predicts this trend will continue in the coming months, as operators become more competitive in terms of product pricing to remain attractive to B2C and B2B subscribers. However, it does caution that the B2B sector remains challenging for some European operators, where it claimed to have seen some subscriber losses due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine and overall inflationary price increases having a strain on retention levels.

In Q2 2022, combined average download bandwidth grew by 20%, compared with Q2 2021, and stood at 426 Mbps. The study found that this was caused by the boost in average speed over cable and especially fibre, 14% and 22% respectively. Copper maintained largely the same average download speed compared with the previous quarter. However, the overall global average monthly cost across the three technologies has increased by just over 12% from $217 PPP to $244 PPP.

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In terms of regions, the Asia-Pacific region retained its dominant bandwidth position with average speeds of 1.146 Gbps, up from 1.355 Gbps in Q4 2021 and 1,135 Mbps year-on-year, followed by North America, Western Europe and Southeast Asia, with the three regions reaching a combined average of around 465 Mbps. Qatar, Switzerland and Southeast Asian countries still remain at the top of the league by average bandwidth, along with Italy, France and Bulgaria – these countries all rank in the top 10 cheapest for residential broadband in terms of average cost per Mbps being less than $0.10 PPP.

South and East Asia’s average business bandwidth saw a slight overall decrease from Q4 2021 (238 Mbps) to 229 Mbps in Q2 2022, but this was said to be due to the total number of tariffs being compared during the periods.

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