Broadband consumers demand security and sustainability
Consumer expectations will reshape the needs and economics of the internet, according to Cisco.
People in EMEA are rethinking what they rely on the internet for, balancing classic demands for speed and reliability, with the intensifying needs of rising eco-consciousness, secure cloud infrastructure, and the consumerisation of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting our devices, from smart cars to home appliances.
This has led to 79% of survey participants ranking broadband as critical national infrastructure, escalating the need for the technology industry to respond to these asks and accelerate the journey towards a more sustainable, secure internet for the future.
Consumer awareness around the environmental impact
The carbon-cost of broadband connectivity is a top priority for consumers. Cisco’s survey revealed that 65% of consumers in EMEA are now concerned about the carbon footprint of their broadband, with young people aged 18-24 the most concerned (73%).
In addition, 77% said they would be willing to pay more for sustainable broadband, with around a quarter prepared to pay a price premium of more than 20%.
This supports a wider market trend, shown in a 2019 survey by Nielsen and a 2022 survey by Globescan, revealing widespread consumer awareness around the environmental impact of the products they use and a demand for companies to step up and mitigate negative impacts on the planet.
Password protection dominates home network security
In parallel to growing environmental concerns, the emergence of hybrid work and the ever-increasing blur between the professional and personal lives of employees brings new risks into the home.
Despite most consumers using their broadband for tasks like banking and work, passwords are still the most popular way (53%) that survey respondents protect home networks and devices; only a quarter have switched on their router’s firewall. This is despite previous Cisco research revealing that 57% of consumers worry about cybercriminals hacking their devices.
While speed is still the main priority among those planning to upgrade their broadband in the next year (selected by 40%), security is now a close second, ranked by 38% of consumers as a top priority when choosing their broadband package.
Prioritizing sustainability and security in broadband infrastructure
As the number of IoT devices online grows from billions to trillions, so does the demand for bandwidth and processing power to analyse all the data produced. According to the Cisco’s survey, there’s no sign of this slowing down. Consumers are instead embracing the shift toward a ‘smarter’ digital life.
A majority already have, or expect to have, their cars (67%), lights (74%), appliances (71%), energy (76%) and water (64%) connected. Indeed, more than half of consumers surveyed (54%) indicated feeling positive about new ways to connect their homes and lives to the internet.
This is despite a majority (63%) saying that the cost-of-living crisis has changed the way they spend money on digital services: 21% have reported moving to a lower cost broadband package and 16% have cancelled streaming services.
“The carbon footprint of the information and communications technology sector is estimated to account for around 2.1 – 3.9% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and more than half of that comes from networks and data centers. In addition to the cybersecurity threat landscape constantly evolving and expanding, we have to deal with the increasing threat of climate change. Prioritizing sustainability and security in broadband infrastructure is therefore crucial to enable lasting and resilient digital transformation,” said Gordon Thomson, VP Service Provider – EMEA, Cisco.
“The old technology adage of ‘faster, cheaper, better’ has not been relevant for a long time. It’s now about simplifying solutions and building networks that can fuel global connectivity and economic growth, facilitating and protecting the digitalization and automation of everyday activities, all without losing sight of our impact on the future,” he continued.