In May 2008 we first asked respondents with home broadband service whether or not they paid extra for “premium” broadband service promising higher speeds. Our findings on this question have been fairly consistent over this time—at the moment, 51% of broadband subscribers subscribe to a basic service, one-third (36%) pay extra for a higher-speed premium service, and an additional one in ten (13%) are not sure whether they have a basic or premium service.
Overall there is relatively little variation among broadband users on this question; the biggest differences are associated with household income. Broadband subscribers with an annual household income of $50,000 or more are evenly split between basic subscribers (46%) and premium subscribers (42%). By contrast, broadband users living in households earning less than $50,000 per year are much more likely to subscribe to a basic service than to a premium offering (59% of such households have a basic service, while 29% pay extra for a premium service). Additionally, parents are somewhat more likely than non-parents to subscribe to a premium broadband service (40% vs. 33%).
Perhaps due to the proliferation of bundled services that incorporate internet, phone and television service, many home internet users are unsure of what they pay for their connection. When asked what they pay for internet access, one quarter of home users are unable to provide an answer. Among those who do provide an answer, the average home broadband user pays $41.18 per month for service. This figure is little changed from what we found in our spring 2009 survey, when the average home broadband user paid $39.00 per month.
Basic broadband internet subscribers pay an average of $39.01 per month in 2010, while premium subscribers pay an average of $45.83. Each of these represents only a modest change from our 2009 survey findings. The average dialup user pays $29 per month for home service—this is also up only modestly from the average 2009 dialup bill of $26.60.