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Internet users’ gripes: Cost and speeds

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Customer choices: This pie chart shows the market share of internet service providers (ISPs) in Bermuda, as indicated by 403 residents surveyed by Global Research on behalf of the Bermuda Regulatory Authority (RA). The results are included in the RA’s Bermuda Broadband Market Survey. It should be noted the market share results from the survey may vary from the actual overall market share enjoyed by the companies

Internet users in Bermuda are concerned about what they perceive as slow connection speeds and high costs, and most would prefer to have a single provider for both internet access and service.

Those are the findings of a survey conducted on behalf of the Bermuda Regulatory Authority.

The survey was limited to a sampling of 403 residents, but within that group it revealed that Logic, the dominant player in the domestic internet service provider (ISP) market, lost 10 per cent of its market share in 2014, while new entrant CableVision acquired a 12 per cent market share.

Among residents, the number one issue with internet service is cost, with just over a third of all survey respondents, some 36 per cent, citing internet service as being too expensive. This was down from 43 per cent in 2013.

A further result showed seven out of 10 residents continue to believe internet costs in Bermuda to be expensive.

On average, residents spend $117 a month on internet services, including access and service.

Responding to the survey’s findings, Logic’s CEO Vicki Coelho said: “Logic has reduced its prices dramatically in the last two years.

“For example, 10MB ISP service was priced at $130 per month in May 2013. Logic is now charging $70 for that service.

“Additional savings on overall telecom expenditures are available to customers who choose one of our Unity Bundles. Despite this over 50 per cent reduction in pricing, we note that the survey reflects a continuing perception that internet services are expensive.”

Ms Coelho said the company was looking at ways to further reduce the costs faced by customers.

Bermuda CableVision’s CEO Terry Roberson said: “We will continue to review our costs associated with providing the service so that we can lower pricing in the future. We want to ensure we remain competitive in the marketplace and appreciate the feedback from the Bermuda public.”

There was a five-point drop in the number of residents happy with the speed of their internet connection, with 61 per cent indicating they were satisfied, down from 66 per cent in 2013.

Mr Roberson said he was pleased to see that 63 per cent of survey respondents indicated they were likely to upgrade to higher speeds in the future.

He said: “We currently offer speeds up to 25MB, which we have found to be popular with our customers. People looking for higher speeds can upgrade to this option, which enables users to do everything they want to do online — from playing games to streaming video.

“Furthermore, we have tested 50 and 100 MB and hope to launch these options in the not too distant future.”

The internet’s almost omnipresence in people’s daily lives was underlined by the fact that more than eight out of ten residents (88 per cent) said it was so important that they could not go without an internet connection for more than a few days. That was three points higher than in 2013.

Overall satisfaction with internet service providers declined by eight points from 72 per cent in 2013 to 64 per cent last year. Customers were less satisfied with technical support, service quality, reliability, customer service and download speeds than they had been in the previous year.

When asked if they would switch service provider if it meant they could decrease their bill payment by 20 per cent, some 62 per cent of those surveyed indicated they “definitely or probably” would switch.

Some 85 per cent of respondents said they would prefer having one provider for both internet access and service, up slightly from a year ago.

Logic had a year-on-year 10 per cent drop in market share within the limited scope of the 403-respondent survey, while there were new appearances by CableVision and CellOne in the ISP market place, taking 12 per cent and four per cent market share respectively.

Logic boss Ms Coelho said: “We think this highlights the competitive dynamic that has been building since the dramatic changes to the licensing regime in 2013.

“This is a highly competitive market. No provider, Logic included, can afford to stand still. The survey highlights customers’ preference for a single bill, a unified internet service, and lower prices.

“The market share shifts confirm these preferences. To meet the competitive dynamic head on, Logic’s service offerings have evolved into the Unity Bundle — one bill, from one provider, that provides the customer with internet access and ISP service, and home phone and long distance services, at pricing that provides customers significant savings.”

Mr Roberson, of Bermuda CableVision, said the company was delighted to have made an impact as a new ISP. He added: “This is just the beginning as consumers become more aware that CableVision is now an ISP.

“Given that 85 per cent of residents say they prefer one provider for internet access and service, we hope this number continues to grow as residents find us to be very dependable.”

Some 65 per cent of survey respondents said Logic was their ISP, the others listed were CableVision at 12 per cent, Digicel at 9 per cent, TBI at 8 per cent, CellOne at 4 per cent, LinkBermuda at 1 per cent and don’t knows accounting for the remaining 1 per cent. It should be noted these results are from a limited survey and may not reflect the actual overall market share of the companies.

The survey was conducted by Global Research between December and January, and sampled 403 Bermuda residents aged 18 or older. The margin of error in the study was +/- 4.9 per cent.

Logic CEO Vicki Coelho