Wireline or wireless, as long as consumers can do what they want online, it does not matter whether their data travels via LTE or fiber.
That, at least, are the results of a survey released today by the Internet Innovation Alliance.
IIA shared the survey results with the Federal Communications Commission, said Congressman Rick Boucher, formerly Democratic Representative for Virginia, who chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Communications and the Internet. Although tasked with providing Congress with an annual update on broadband adoption, the FCC relies on dated information -- something extremely risky in the Internet age, Boucher said.
"Contrary to the FCC's analysis in 2016 which was based on earlier years, the landscape we see in 2018 has dramatically changed," he said. "Consumers no longer see wired and wireless services as fundamentally different. They no longer express a preference for one over the other. IIA believes wired and wireless broadband services are today functional substitutes."
By the Numbers
About 43% of consumers polled prefer mobile access or expressed no preference, while 47% prefer wireline access -- a statistical tie, said former Congressman Rick Boucher. (Source: Internet Innovation Alliance)
, which conducted the study for IIA, polled about 10,000 consumers. However, conceded CivicScience Founder and CEO John Dick, some respondents may well have selected their current connectivity means versus their ideal way to connect.
After all, 3% chose dial-up, the survey found; another 3% selected satellite. It's hard to imagine that some consumers differentiated between cable and fiber, or that some who selected smartphone or tablet aren't actually hooked up to their home WiFi, powered by their cable operator.
But wait a minute...
The results contradict other sources that demonstrate fiber-connected houses and neighborhoods are more attractive than those relying solely on wireless, copper and cable.
Phil Harvey -- the same one my friend and Light Reading colleague Carol Wilson mentions in her blog today -- told me he picked one area over another, in large part because of fiber. I know that the next time my family moves, if one house under consideration has fiber and the other doesn't, all other things being equal, fiber house gets the deal.
And what about all these cities and towns scrambling to build 100% fiber backbone networks in order to attract and retain residents and businesses? Why would they do that if they could simply rely on wireless? That would be so much easier and cheaper.
Wireless connectivity is definitely up to the task of many uses; and sure, gigabit-powered all-fiber home networks are over-built engines for most households. But as families add more 4K (and 8K) TVs, more smart devices, more connected this, that and the other, it's tough to imagine LTE keeping up with demand -- certainly under the terms of many data plans.
The FCC definitely needs more current data, and this provides some good insight into the trends occurring around the US. Many consumers don't care about the technology powering their Internet connection. They probably shouldn't.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.