Cisco held a media briefing to highlight the results of a survey they conducted about how consumers use the Internet and what they expect in terms of connectivity and sustainability. The Cisco broadband survey was filled in by more than 21,000 people in 12 countries, including 1,000 respondents from the UAE from urban and rural areas.

UAE ranks first in the Arab world when it comes to Internet connectivity and has one of the highest penetration rates in the world, with an average broadband speed of 190 Mbps compared to under 100 MBps for the rest of the world.

Key findings from the Cisco broadband survey

Cisco Broadband Survey
  • 92% of UAE consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable broadband connectivity, and 61% are conscious of the Internet’s CO2 footprint.
  • 77% of respondents are concerned about the carbon footprint of their broadband.
  • 81% of respondents view broadband as critical national infrastructure, like access to water and electricity. 
  •  The survey results have also shown that remote and hybrid working models are rising in the UAE, with 62% of UAE respondents now relying on their home Internet to work from home or run a business. This represents a 10% increase compared with last year’s results.
  • 63% of respondents plan to upgrade their Internet service in the next 12 months, mainly looking for speed and security.  
  • IoT is widespread among Internet users in UAE, with 46% of UAE respondents already having connected home entertainment (tv, stereo, gaming) and 36% using the Internet to boost home security. Almost 65% see a positive impact on their life thanks to connected home entertainment, health and activity monitors and home security.

With the UAE boasting one of the highest Internet penetration rates in the world, consumers are raising their connectivity aspirations and are increasingly willing to pay extra for a broadband service with a lower carbon footprint. By constantly innovating the technologies of the future and collaborating with service providers, we can help them place sustainability at the forefront of broadband infrastructure development.

Mohammed Tantawi, Managing Director Telcos and Service Providers MEA at Cisco

The Cisco broadband survey has shown that consumers are conscious of cyber risks: 

  • Only 3% said they take no measures to protect their home connection. This reinforces findings from Cisco’s 2022 Consumer Security Survey in the UAE, which found that most respondents (73%) are worried about being hacked. 
  • While speed is still the main priority among those planning to upgrade their broadband service in the next year (selected by 44%), security is a close second, ranked by 38% of respondents as a top priority.
  • With many using their home broadband for tasks like banking and working, security is top of mind for consumers. Yet, there is a general lack of awareness of more comprehensive security approaches, with almost half (47%) of respondents only relying on an Internet password to protect their home broadband. About a quarter use more elaborate protection, such as turning on the firewall on their wireless router (27%) and checking for hardware and software updates (26%).

The UAE has put cybersecurity at the heart of its digital economy. Today, with the evolution and complexity of cyber-attacks, raising public awareness of online safety and usage of more sophisticated means for protection like multi-factor authentication, is more important than ever.

Abdelilah Nejjari, Managing Director for the Gulf Region at Cisco

The Cisco Broadband Survey is based on a survey of 21,629 workers across 12 countries: the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, the UK and the Netherlands. It was completed during January and February 2023.

The sample included respondents from every region of each country who work full-time remotely; full-time in an office; hybrid, between home and the office; or on the frontline. The poll was conducted by independent research consultancy Censuswide.

Abbas Jaffar Ali
Abbas Jaffar Ali

Abbas has been covering tech for more than two decades- before phones became smart or clouds stored data. He brought publications like CNET, TechRadar and IGN to the Middle East.

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