Internet Streaming Pushes WU Standard Speeds to 250Mbps
on Wednesday, January 22, 2020
WAVERLY, Iowa (January 7, 2020) – Waverly Utilities (WU) Board of Trustees approved to double Internet speeds without raising prices during the December 10, 2019, board meeting.
Customers who subscribe to the 100Mb Internet have been increased to 250Mb and the 250Mb Internet subscribers will now receive 500Mb.
In addition, Internet subscribers with 1Gb service will see their price decrease from $149.95 per month to $99.95 per month. The price reduction puts WU at a competitive advantage when it comes to Internet bandwidth and pricing.
“Waverly Utilities chose to increase bandwidth as more and more connected devices are added in our homes,” stated Telecom Director Jeff Magsamen. “Streaming devices alone make up approximately 75% of all consumer Internet traffic and 71% of U.S. broadband households have a connected entertainment device.”
Currently in the U.S., there are approximately eight connected devices per person, a number expected to climb to 13.6 per person by 2022 according to The Internet & Television Association.
A random sampling of 25 WU Internet customers shows an average of 10 devices connected to the Internet during the day. The number of devices online at each home increases after 5:00pm.
With more video streaming, home security, smart watches and Internet devices, the demands for more bandwidth are on the rise, prompting WU’s decision to up its standard speeds at no additional cost to customers.
“The trend in Waverly and nationwide shows consumers are streaming more and more,” stated Darrel Wenzel, WU CEO. “Video consumers are ‘cutting the cord’ and transitioning to streaming their television choices over the Internet instead of subscribing to cable. As a business who provides cable services, we continue to evaluate our business model.”
Unfortunately, due to the higher programming costs, WU has budgeted for an 8% cable rate increase starting July 1, 2020.
The July 2020 price increase is due to rising fees charged by large media companies that WU must pay. Those costs are then passed on to the cable customers.
“Eight giant corporations own most of the networks our customers watch. To continue increasing their revenue, they require us, your cable provider, to carry their less-popular networks as a condition of providing the most popular ones,” stated Magsamen. “In addition, they use their size and market power to continually demand higher fees for their programming.”
SNL Kagan has projected that broadcast retransmission fees (i.e. fees for NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX) will annually cost U.S. consumers and satellite and cable operators $11.6 billion by 2022, a 51% increase from 2016.
“We want our customers to have access to the TV programming they want – whether they receive that programming from us or another source,” added Magsamen. “We understand cable prices are on the rise but we offer a superb Internet solution with NO data caps. Customers are able to stream using Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, etc.”
As yearly price negotiations continue with corporate broadcasters, WU urges its customers to stay informed and contact local legislators about skyrocketing cable prices from broadcasters. More information can also be found at www.TVOnMySide.com.
“We will continue to fight on behalf of our customers to keep cable rates down and maintain uninterrupted programming,” Magsamen said.