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Monday, September 20, 2010

Broadband: 70% subscribers use less 3 Gigabytes in Nigeria – Swift survey

An estimated 70 per cent of the broadband subscribers in the country used less than 3 Gigabytes (GB) of data every month, according to the recent survey on broadband usage by Swift Networks Limited.

A gigabyte is a measure of computer data storage capacity and is roughly a billion bytes.

Speaking on the outcome of the survey, the Assistant General Manager, Consumer Sales and Marketing, Swift Networks Limited, Mr. Philip Sonibare, made this disclosure in Lagos.

He said that the survey conducted on the broadband user habits and attitude indicated that only 20 per cent of broadband subscribers were responsible for approximately 80 per cent of the data carried on an operator’s network.

The survey which was carried out on 867 subscribers from different works of life over a period of six months, he said, established that about 80 per cent of data carried on Swift’s broadband network has been consistently attributed to just 20 per cent of its subscribers.

“70 per cent of the broadband subscribers typically used less than 3 Gigabytes (GB) of data every month while the types of data downloaded by most subscribers were web pages (75 per cent); peer to peer messaging and online video streaming (20 per cent); and email (5 per cent),” he said.

The study, Mr. Sonibare said was an eye-opener for them at Swift as it showed that most broadband subscribers in Nigeria could actually get more mileage with the same monthly subscription fee.

In addition, he pointed out that the impending rapid growth in video streaming implies that operators must ceaselessly expand their networks to keep pace with the changing demands of network users.

Underlining the challenges of slow internet access in Nigeria, Sonibare said that the above trend also confirmed to be in line with broadband usage internationally, particularly, South Africa.

He equally said that it is believed that the slow internet access prevalent in Nigeria is responsible for the low video and peer-to-peer traffic, stressing that in fact, video traffic is projected to constitute 66 per cent of all internet traffic in the United States of America (USA) by 2011.

“The key implication of the above trend is that uniform or flat rate pricing for broadband use is unfair to most subscribers. For example, broadband users who pay a flat fee each month but only do limited data download and upload (like email primarily) will be subsidizing users who focus on peer-to-peer traffic and/or extensive video streaming” Sonibare said.

Further, he said, this illustrate how unfair flat rate pricing could be, such that 1 Gigabyte of data would be sufficient for 100,000 of electronic mail (email) downloads without file or video attachments, but only sufficient for only 33 five-minute video clips.

As such the broadband user, he said, does mainly emails on his or her service plan and pays the same flat monthly rate as another subscriber that is constantly video streaming throughout the month, insisting that this would amount to subsidizing the perpetual video streamer.

“A fairer pricing model for over 80 per cent of broadband users should be based on the each subscriber’s data up and down load, with the subscriber using more data also paying more,” he said.

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