Fibre Readiness Survey - Barriers to Uptake

In 2010 a survey on business use of Ultra Fast Broadband (UFB) was conducted.  Earlier this year (2015) it was decided to survey the TUANZ membership once again and to invite the Greater East Tamaki Business Association (GETBA) to participate given the length of time UFB had been available in that area.  The survey was conducted online during the month of June 2015.

Over November, each week we will publish a post that covers off a key finding from the survey finishing up with our thoughts on the opportunities that we see arising from the survey results. We have also published the data to the Figure.NZ site and you can see the results here - note that at present that although the graph titles state that it is “TUANZ members”, the results include the GETBA results as well.   If you want to know more of the background and the response rate you can read that on our website here.

This week we look at what barriers to uptake that became apparent from the responses in the survey.  The first barrier is simply the apparent lack of awareness that a fibre service is available.

It is interesting to note that in 2015, some 39% of all respondents without fibre (n=98) didn’t know whether UFB was available in their area.  When added to those who thought UFB wasn’t available, that figure grew to almost 60% of those without fibre. This data was gathered when the rollout to businesses was some 93% complete.  The TUANZ results are in line with those from the Statistics New Zealand Business Operations Survey 2014 supplied to Chorus which found that 48% of respondents cited lack of availability of fibre as the greatest barrier to uptake.  Note that market research on UFB has generally shown high awareness of what UFB is, which should not be confused with where it is available.

The second apparent barrier was the perceived price of a fibre service.  When all respondents were asked what speed broadband they would like to buy in future (n= 142), it is interesting to look at the impact of UFB prices, now that they are in market. Non-fibre respondents (n= 72) were more likely to buy lower speed, lower cost plans than those already on UFB or fibre.  

Other barriers to takeup among non-fibre respondents were the one off installation cost, the monthly access cost of the new service and the cost to break an existing contract or potential risk to business interruption.  There were perceived as the four greatest barriers to connecting, being considered a “high” or “very high” barrier by 56%, 44% and 34% equal respectively. Of least concern to this group was the need to gain a neighbour or building owners’ consent to connect and potential hardware, software or systems integration costs.

When asked what businesses would like to know more about, respondents (n= 84) had a strong or great need for information on performance guarantees (56%), UFB rollout timeframes (49%) and speeds and bandwidth (47%).  Non-fibre users were more than twice as likely as those already with UFB/fibre to want to find out more about applying the benefits of UFB to their business model and products, services and solutions which run over UFB, however this was off a low base and should be considered indicative only.  The survey in 2010 demonstrated a real lack of interest in these aspects of UFB by non-fibre/UFB users, but given the sample size in 2015 (n =~40) it is hard to draw an accurate conclusion about the extent to which this has changed.

When asked who they would trust to advise them on UFB (n = 121), over half the respondents chose their IT provider (50.4%) to assist, followed by their retail service provider (47%) or TUANZ (40%).   Asked if they would undertake training to make the most of UFB, (n = 120) more than half the respondents (52%) were not willing to do so. Given this, the sample size of respondents to further questions about training was not sufficient to draw meaningful conclusions.