Factors influencing consumer preferences for FTTH services in the South African broadband industry

Chifamba, Colin Shangwa
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The demand for broadband internet is increasing rapidly in South African households. As usable wireless spectrum gets exhausted by mobile service providers, fibre to the home is now the most future-proof broadband medium that can satisfy the growing consumer demand for broadband internet. Many fibre providers are rolling out their networks with a view of capturing this booming market. The government has made broadband one of the goals of the National Development Plan with the deployment of national broadband fibre a key objective. Actual uptake of fibre by broadband consumers, however, remains low in areas where it is available despite the many benefits of fibre over alternative broadband media. This research sought to determine the factors that influence the consumer preferences for fibre over alternative broadband media in South Africa. Consumer preferences were obtained using an online pairwise questionnaire that gathered user preference and demographic data for use in a conjoint value analysis of predetermined attributes. The research shows that the amount of data available to broadband consumers is the most important factor in their decision-making process as consumers begin to view the internet as an indispensable commodity. It is further shown how having the fastest broadband speeds is not critical for broadband consumers who place more value on the affordability of the broadband service. Internet service providers need to build customer-centric product offerings in line with the latest trends in the telecommunications and broadcasting industries to complement their traditional internet access product offerings. The government needs to consider subsidising fibre deployments for some demographic groups if they are to meet their National Development Plan broadband goals by 2020.
MBA Thesis
Consumer behavior -- South Africa,Broadband communication systems -- South Africa,Internet industry -- South Africa