Speed Not Only Attribute Consumers Looking for in Future Broadband Services, Experts Say

’The industry needs to get off its speed fixation.’

Speed Not Only Attribute Consumers Looking for in Future Broadband Services, Experts Say
Illustration by DALL-E

WASHINGTON, June 29, 2023 – The future of broadband should not be viewed with only speed in mind, but other attributes that consumers are increasingly looking for, said panelists at a Broadband Breakfast Live Online event Wednesday.

Network attributes like reliability, in-home Wi-Fi, resiliency, security and latency will play an increasingly important role in consumer demand, said Jason Livingood, vice president of technology policy, products and standards at cable company Comcast.

“The industry needs to get off its speed fixation,” agreed Dan Grossman, senior analyst at semiconductor analyst TechInsights. “Fiber wins on reliability, latency, consistency, and brand image.” He argued that providers should be using those metrics for brand positioning rather than speed claims, as it is no longer “all about speed.”

“Who needs [multiple Gig speeds]? Who could possibly use it?” said Grossman. Most people who buy these speeds are “wasting their money,” he argued.

Photo of Dan Grossman

Nokia rolled out a 25-gigabit symmetrical PON in January. A PON service can support multiple clients from a single router by splitting a fiber-optic strand from an optical line terminal. It differs from an active optical network which dedicates each end user their own fiber line by an electrically charged switcher that manages the signal distribution from the fiber line to service the end destinations.

Despite Nokia representatives claiming that deploying 25G PON is ideal for providers that want to provide customers with 10G or higher speeds and ensure future applications will be supported by their networks, Grossman argued that it will be years before 25-gig services are needed.

American providers are ahead of global efforts on deploying XGS-PON which delivers 10G symmetrical speed, said Grossman. He predicts that 10G will be the solution to small business and residential fiber for the foreseeable future.

Although household internet traffic continues to grow, the annual rate of growth is slowing, claimed Grossman. This means that there is an expanding gap between what consumers pay for and what they will need and use, he claimed.

“Increasing capacity was a proxy for improving the quality of the customers” for several decades, said Livingood. He claimed that the country is at the point of diminishing returns for extremely high-capacity levels.

Our Broadband Breakfast Live Online events take place on Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. Watch the event on Broadband Breakfast, or REGISTER HERE to join the conversation.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 – The Future of Ultra High-Speed Connectivity

Over the last several years, rapid technological advances have brought dramatic increases to home internet speeds. Fiber-to-the-home is often heralded as the gold standard for fast, future-proof broadband. How are fiber technologies evolving to adapt to ever-higher capacity? What about alternative technologies besides fiber, both wire-based and wireless? How are these technologies supplementing the fiber-driven future of ultra high-speed connectivity?


  • Gary Bolton, President and CEO, Fiber Broadband Association
  • Jason Livingood, Vice President of Technology Policy, Products and Standards, Comcast
  • Dan Grossman, Senior Analyst, TechInsights
  • Drew Clark (moderator), Editor and Publisher, Broadband Breakfast

Panelist resources

Gary Bolton serves as president and CEO of the Fiber Broadband Association — the largest trade association in the Americas dedicated to all-fiber-optic broadband. With more than three decades in the telecom industry, Bolton joined the Fiber Broadband Association as president and CEO in 2020 after serving on the association’s board as vice chairman, treasurer and vice chairs of public policy and marketing committees. Prior to taking the leadership role at the Fiber Broadband Association, Gary spent 11 years at ADTRAN serving as vice president of global marketing and government affairs. Gary has been highly involved in Washington, particularly on FCC and Congressional proceedings and international trade issues.

Jason Livingood serves as vice president of technology policy, products and standards at Comcast. As part of this role, he coordinates Comcast’s efforts to develop open standards, spur research and development by leading the Comcast Innovation Fund and engaging with universities around the world, apply research and standards to initiate new network and services’ concepts, and engage with governments, regulators and other external key stakeholders. Jason joined Comcast in 1996 to help the company launch high-speed Internet services and has also been instrumental in the creation and launch of Comcast’s business class internet services, Xfinity Voice, Xfinity Home and Xfinity WiFi.

Dan Grossman has a wealth of expertise in fixed networks, both as an industry analyst and as a technologist. His engineering background and mindset combined with his business acumen gives him unique insight into the interplay between use cases, technology, and business strategy. At TechInsights, his focus is on research and client services in the fixed services and equipment market, including fiber-to-the-premises, fixed wireless access and optical networks, from both the service provider and vendor perspectives. Prior to TechInsights, Dan was principal at his consulting firm, NetAccess Futures, a contributing analyst at Heavy Reading and an associate at Interisle Consulting Group.

Drew Clark (moderator) is CEO of Breakfast Media LLC. He has led the Broadband Breakfast community since 2008. An early proponent of better broadband, better lives, he initially founded the Broadband Census crowdsourcing campaign for broadband data. As Editor and Publisher, Clark presides over the leading media company advocating for higher-capacity internet everywhere through topical, timely and intelligent coverage. Clark also served as head of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a state broadband initiative.

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