Wisconsin Residential Demand Survey
A total of 10,999 usable residential demand surveys
completed between June 2012 and October 10, 2013
Breakdown of Responses
Perceived Unmet Demand
Ave. County Rate
Median County Rate
“Unmet demand” defined as
percent of population not
connected to Internet OR
current connection is
perceived “inadequate” to
meet current needs.
Counties with Low Percentage of Unmet Demand
Counties with High Percentage of Unmet Demand
Counties Lacking Adequate Response to Evaluate Demand
Reasons for not subscribing
Perceived lack of
availability and expense
are primary reasons why
Wisconsin residents do
not subscribe to a
Percentage broken out by County group
Internet Download Speed Definitions Used
in Wisconsin Residential Demand Survey
Basic Internet (765kbps – 1.5M) - Staying connected, basic email and simple web browsing,
downloading video, etc.
Typical Internet (1.5M to 4M)- Remote monitoring (e.g., measuring vital signs), basic
telecommuting (work at home), streaming video or music (YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, etc),
complex web browsing, online education/classes, medium-size file/image sharing, etc.
Enhanced Internet (4M to 10M) - Online gaming, large-size file/image sharing, remote
medical diagnosis, basic medical record sharing, remote education (between two or more
educational sites), etc.
Premium Internet (10M to 100M)- Complex telemedicine (e.g. sharing/downloading
medical images), complex education services, complex gaming, complex telecommuting,
high quality telepresence/video conferencing.
Advanced Internet (100M to 1G)- High definition telemedicine, multiple interactive
education service, etc.
Typical or Enhance Internet speeds (1.5 to 10 Mbps)
most frequently cited as desired by those not
However cost is an issue. Only
a few willing to pay more than
$50 per month for service
DSL and cable modem most often used by
residents to access the Internet
Technologies Used by Residents to Access the Internet
Cable modem enjoys advantage
over other technologies in
perceived consumer satisfaction.
Percent Residents Satisfied with Current Service
Slow download/upload and difficulty streaming video most
frequently cited issues causing dissatisfaction with current
File downloads/uploads take too long
Browsing on the Internet is too slow
Streaming video quality is jerky/not good
Video downloads/uploads take too long
Photo downloads/uploads take too long
Above cited as problems by at least 50% of residents presently not satisfied with
Residents in counties with high unmet demand are much less
likely to access a cable service and more likely to rely on satellite.
Only one-quarter of residents perceive
their current connection speed to be in
excess of 4 Mbps.
Current Reported Internet Access Speeds
Consumer satisfaction is
substantially less for residents with
slower Internet connections
Percent of Residents Satisfied with Their
Current Service by Perceived Connection Speed
Broadband connection speeds are generally lower in high
unmet demand counties
Approximately 45% of Wisconsin broadband
subscribers connect at least three devices to the
Internet at home
The most frequently connected home devices are:
Two-thirds of presently connected Wisconsin residents
desire to access a service delivering in excess of 4Mbps
LT 1.5 Mbps 5%
100 Mbps to
1 Gbps 11%
1.5 to 4 Mbps 22%
10 to 100 Mbps 25%
4 to 10 Mbps 31%
Desired Internet Connection Speeds
Wisconsin residents are not willing to pay more for “better”
broadband. In fact on average they are willing to pay even
less than presently.
Willing to Pay
Paid for Broadband
Residential broadband is important to
Wisconsin’s education and workforce
Just over 40 percent of Wisconsin households connected
to the Internet have at least one school age child (k-12)
One out of four new beneficiaries of connecting presently
unserved Wisconsin households is a school age child.
More than a quarter of Wisconsin households connected
to the Internet access distance education course.
Telecommuting has become very important
to the rural Wisconsin economy.
58% of telecommuting households report their
current Internet connection is inadequate to meet
40% of households in high unmet demand rural
counties rely on their broadband connection for
telecommuting at least part-time.
Wisconsin Business Demand Survey
A total of 1,120 usable residential demand surveys
completed between June 2012 and October 10, 2013
Breakdown of Responses
On average, 46% of Wisconsin’s businesses have unmet demand
Dissimilar to the pattern for residents, business demand does not
vary significantly with county geography.
Unmet demand however, is closely associated with business size
and economic sector.
Percent Unmet Demand by Firm Size
Percent Unmet Demand by Sector
Number of Employees
Expense, lack of availability, and perceived absence of value are the
primary reasons some Wisconsin businesses do not adopt
Reasons Cited by Businesses for Not Adopting Broadband
businesses, only half view
broadband as “critical” or
However, 75% indicate
they would adopt
broadband if and when
an affordable adequate
service became available.
Approximately 60 percent of non-adopting businesses desire a
broadband service delivering in excess of 4 Mbps download.
Non-Adopting Business Desired Speed
However, for many the
willingness/ability to pay is
Non-Adopting Business Willingness to Pay
More than 90 percent of Wisconsin businesses rely on
More than three-quarters of these businesses consider
access to a broadband connection as “critical”.
Perceived Business Importance of Broadband
Approximately 40% of “connected” Wisconsin
businesses cite dissatisfaction with the their current
Internet Service. Expense and variable service quality
are the most frequently cited issues.
Business issues with current Internet Service
Percent of 444 survey respondents reporting current service not
Broadband is a significant business expense. Costs vary with size and type of
Distribution of Current Broadband Service Costs For Wisconsin
Half of Wisconsin’s
businesses would be
willing to pay at least 10
percent more if they
could receive their
“optimal level of
• For Wisconsin residents, the greatest unmet demand is in low-density
and difficult terrain rural locations that are costly to serve.
• For businesses, unmet demand is more closely related to size an type
of businesses. Location within the state appears less important.
• Perceived consumer satisfaction varies with technology. Cable
generally provides the highest satisfaction and satellite the lowest.
• The majority of Wisconsin residents report their current connection
offers less than 4 Mbps. Yet approximately two-thirds of Wisconsin
residents and businesses desire connections in excess of 4 Mbps.
• Expense and perceived availability are two major barriers to adoption.
• In general residents are not willing to pay more for “better service”
• Many businesses, however, are willing to pay more to receive their
optimal level of service.
Implications for Rural Economic Development
The highest unmet demand for broadband is in difficult and costly to serve rural Wisconsin.
Rural telecommuters and agriculture businesses in particular cite deficiencies of current
Cable and DSL wireline technologies enjoy the highest level of consumer satisfaction (along
with fixed wireless). While technology continues to change mobile wireless and satellite do
not presently provide the robust level of broadband service demanded by rural residents.
In the absence of major technological breakthrough, technological change by itself is unlikely
to fully address the rural unmet demand challenge. Wireline and fixed wireless solutions are
A limited willingness/ability to pay on the part of rural consumers hinders the business case
for additional provider investment for all technologies.
Public policy should consider incentives that improve the business case for investment in
high and moderate unmet demand rural counties.
Implications for Wisconsin Youth
One in four people that would benefit from fulfilling the demand for broadband service to
Wisconsin’s presently unserved households is a school age child.
As Wisconsin considers its options to extend Gigabit connections to every school and
library in the state, it will be important to also recognize the reality that not all of
Wisconsin’s youth have a broadband connection at home.
Even where there is a broadband connection at home, those connections are not always
robust enough to support data downloads and uploads as well as streaming video that is
core to contemporary education.
More than a quarter of Wisconsin’s households have at least one person that takes a
distance education course from home and must rely on a robust broadband connection.
40 percent of Wisconsin’s connected households have at least one school age child using
the computer at home.
Public policy designed to improve lives for Wisconsin’s young people must recognize the
full potential of public investments to extend broadband to schools and libraries must also
address connections to homes where there is unmet demand.
Implications for State and Local Leadership
57 percent of Wisconsin’s households report an unmet demand for broadband service.
Notably, while unmet demand is more significant in some counties, there is unmet demand in
all Wisconsin Counties.
Unmet demand for broadband translates into missed opportunities for job development,
education, health care, public safety and the efficient delivery of government services.
Solutions involve public and private collaboration that include both expanded supply and the
connection to unmet demand. This can be accomplished in part through leadership initiatives
to improve public awareness of opportunities.
One reason unmet demand is not always recognized is that the individual demand is not
always significant enough to support a business case for expanded private broadband
investment. State and local leaders working together with the private sector can play an
important role in “aggregating” local level unmet demand to a level that it becomes more
feasible to recover necessary private investment.
Implications for Provider Opportunities
The Wisconsin demand survey points to substantial unmet demand for broadband services
in every region of the state. Providers can view this result as an uncaptured market
Consumer education can play a role in addressing this market opportunity. For example, the
survey results indicate that many residential consumers desire to have more robust Internet
connection, but are generally not willing to pay more for a more robust service. Working in
collaboration with local and state public leadership, providers can provide information on
the cost of expanded investment as well as the value for local residents and businesses that
can be achieved from more robust broadband. Both may improve willingness to pay or
alternatively advocacy for additional financial incentives from state and federal government.
The demand data provides more transparent information on the location of unmet demand
and opportunities for demand aggregation.
Working together with potential new customers and local leadership, solutions to establish
the appropriate business case for investment can be explored.