NTCA Report Offers Insights Into Bundling

Posted: February 7, 2017

Customers across rural America are embracing higher internet speeds and bundling their telecommunications services, according to a national survey.

NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association has released its 2016 Bundling Marketing Report. It includes bundling price points, internet connection speeds and the number of TV channels offered by telcos across the country.

Laura Withers, director of communications for NTCA, says the survey is done every four years with input from 800 members (which includes cooperatives and commercial companies) to gauge progress toward various marketing goals. About 20 percent of the members participated in the 2016 survey.

According to the report, telco customers are more satisfied with bundle packages than they were four years ago.

The focus is on triple play — bundling voice, internet and video — Withers says. Quad play packages, which add wireless service to voice, internet and video, are not as popular, and about 65 percent of the customers who participated in the survey were not as satisfied with it. Quad play tends to cause a price increase greater than customers are comfortable with.

The 2015 action by the Federal Communications Commission to set a download speed of 25 megabits per second as a benchmark to be considered as broadband internet has made an impact. “Customers are embracing higher speeds,” she says.

In the past, rural telephone cooperatives relied on customer service when marketing bundles, but now it seems the focus has turned to pricing and value in order to compete with other companies, Withers says.

The report offers some valuable information for the industry. “It gives a full picture of how bundling is impacting the industry,” she says.

To purchase a copy of the report, go to NTCA’s eStore, select publications and look for the Bundling Marketing Report.

To listen to a podcast episode where Laura Withers discusses the bundling report, visit StoryConnect: The Podcast.