A new study by Guilia McHenry, the Chief Economist in the Office of Policy Analysis and Development at the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA), shows that consumers of all income levels are substituting mobile broadband for fixed broadband. Brian Fung highlighted some of the study’s findings in a Washington Post article:
In 2013, 8 percent of households making $50,000 to $75,000 a year were mobile-only. Fast-forward a couple of years, and that figure now stands at 18 percent. Seventeen percent of households making $75,000 to $100,000 are mobile-only now, compared with 8 percent two years ago. And 15 percent of households earning more than $100,000 are mobile-only, vs. 6 percent in 2013.
As Randolph May and I wrote in a January 2016 blog, the number of “smartphone-only” adults has been increasing over the past several years. This NTIA study shows that consumers who substitute mobile broadband for fixed broadband are not only low-income individuals but those further up the income scale too.It is time for the FCC to recognize this shift in consumer preferences and take into account the actual realities and competitiveness of the broadband marketplace when it considers imposing regulations on Internet service providers.