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Poor Broadband Could Cost Streaming Services £500m in Revenue

Ross Kelly

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streaming services
Poor broadband connectivity could deny streaming service more than half-a-billion pounds in revenue over the next 15 years, new analysis has found.

Research from digital consultancy FarrPoint shows that streaming services such as Netflix, NowTV and Amazon Prime stand to lose out on around £546 million if connectivity standards aren’t improved across the UK.

Currently, the minimum requirement to stream video content stands at more than 10Mbps. However, data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) shows that there are more than 180,000 households across the country that have poor broadband speeds or no broadband at all.

According to FarrPoint, the figures show how much of a difference an increase in broadband speed could mean for streaming services – especially since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Data from Amphere Analytics suggests more than 32 million people use streaming services to watch content, with the pandemic prompting a rise in subscriptions.

Looking at the UK nations, streaming services are missing out on more than £355m in untapped revenue due to connectivity issues in England. Meanwhile, in Scotland streaming services could reap a £90.3m reward.

Poor connectivity costs streaming services £51.1m in Northern Ireland, while in Wales revenue of up to £48.8m could be missed out on.

FarrPoint CEO Dr Andrew Muir commented: “The pandemic has shown the breadth of issues that poor broadband can cause; from students not being able to attend online classes and home working issues, to obstructed access to medical and food supplies so something needs to be done to avoid these issues.

“Our data ultimately highlights the hidden costs of poor broadband connections to organisations that rely on the infrastructure to operate – and the massive gains that could result by supporting the small proportion of the population that are currently missing out.”


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Netflix recently announced it will begin allowing users to stream video games as part of a long-awaited move into the gaming space.

According to FarrPoint, businesses could also lose out on revenue streams in the gaming sector due to poor broadband connectivity. Similarly, online advertising and retail will also suffer.

Dr Muir noted that the debate around who is responsible for broadband quality has played out for some time. Looking ahead, government and industry must work together to ensure better connectivity.

He said: “It’s important that those parties with an interest in resolving this issue, such as Netflix, Disney+, NowTV and Amazon Prime, work closely with the government, telcos and the wider connectivity sector to plug this gap and ensure the delivery of fit-for-purpose broadband connections in order to bridge the ‘digital divide’ before it’s not just our favourite box set that we stand to lose out on.”

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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