NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

As Internet Speeds Surge, Cable Broadband Delivers Increasing Consumer Value

As Internet Speeds Surge, Cable Broadband Delivers Increasing Consumer Value

A family of three relaxes on their couch while using multiple internet connected devices.

Internet speeds have surged over the past two decades. In 2007, it could take up to 45 minutes to download an HD movie. Now, Americans can start streaming their favorite shows in seconds and high-speed internet powers the services that are keeping the country afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. These speeds provide a tremendous increase in value to consumers at a time when the quality-adjusted cost of cable’s broadband services has declined by 98%.

Why it matters: Faster speeds means consumers can quickly and seamlessly use data-intensive services in the safety of their homes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, faster speeds are enabling the video conferences, telehealth sessions and distance learning platforms that Americans rely on to stay safe, healthy and connected. 

While cable providers have invested tens of billions of dollars to upgrade their networks and deliver these speeds, they are also delivering more valuable services to consumers. In 2008, only 15% of Americans had access to internet speeds of 10 megabits per second (Mbps.) Today, gigabit (1000 megabit) speeds are available at affordable prices to 80% of the country. As speeds surge, the price per Mbps has shrunk to $0.64 from $9.01 in 2008. Cable providers’ investments and commitments to upgrade their networks have not only made the internet faster and more powerful, but also accessible and affordable for the majority of Americans

What comes next: Cable broadband providers know that today’s demand is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2018, Cisco predicted that, in the U.S. alone, internet traffic would triple by the year 2022 — and that was before the country experienced a pandemic. Cable providers continue to invest heavily to upgrade and improve their networks. The industry is already building on a path toward 10G, the broadband platform of the future that delivers gigabit speeds that are 10 times faster than today. With these speeds comes an increase in: 

  • security 
  • capacity 
  • reliability
  • low latency.

Who will benefit:  The 10G future means richer, higher quality and more immersive online experiences. It means stronger long-distance relationships with loved ones. It also means that the networks will be ready for whatever innovations and demand the future brings. The COVID-19 pandemic has proved that high-speed internet is more important now than ever, and by continuing to invest heavily in the network, cable providers are ensuring that the U.S. remains a global leader and opening the door for innovations the country has yet to dream of. 

Graphic demonstrating the shrinking cost of a megabit from the year 2000 to 2020