In a new twist to cord cutting, the trend in which consumers cancel their cable subscriptions in favor of Internet video, surveys indicate that hundreds of thousands of Americans canceled their home Internet service last year. As consumers leverage the growth of free Wi-Fi hot spots and fast new wireless networks via their smartphones and tablets, some are cutting their home Internet cord more so than their pay TV cord.
“Last year around 1 percent of U.S. households stopped paying for home Internet subscriptions and relied on wireless access instead, according to consumer surveys by Leichtman Research Group Inc. Just 0.4 percent of households in the last year canceled their pay-television subscriptions in favor of getting video entertainment over the Internet via services such as Hulu or Netflix,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
“Dropping home Internet service isn’t a great deal for heavy Internet users, however. While smartphones are fine for email and social networking, wireless data plans can be expensive and easily drained by even a single streamed high-definition movie,” notes the article. “Free Wi-Fi is more widely available than ever, but cutting the Internet cord means users have to rely on cellular access at home.”
Some subscribers are frustrated by the rising cost of cable and Internet access, and have begun testing their wireless options, which may prove to be be good enough for many. Currently, replacing home Internet with wireless will most likely only make economic sense for the lightest users, since many plans charge subscribers based on data usage.
“Still, with average home Internet charges approaching $50 a month and typical low-end smartphone plans costing at least that much, many Americans can’t or don’t want to pay for both,” explains the article. “Surveys suggest that those who have to make the choice are choosing smartphone service — which, after all, offers both voice and online access — instead of home Internet. Minorities and people with low incomes are far more likely than the average American to rely on their phones as their primary way to get online, the Pew Research Center found last year.”