The growth of broadband usage driven by the COVID-19 pandemic may be plateauing in quarantined areas, according to a COVID-19 broadband traffic report from OpenVault.

The firm said that during the March 30 to April 3 week, downstream data usage in those areas declined by 5.80% compared to the March 23 to March 27 week. Upstream use increased by only 2.3% during the latter week, the company said. OpenVault reported triple-digit percentage increases during the previous three weeks. Overall, total data usage growth in quarantined was 33.1% compared to the January 2020 figures.

“It’s too early to say that the industry has weathered the storm of additional usage, but signs point to the greatest surge of growth by far as being behind us,” OpenVault CEO and founder Mark Trudeau said in a press release. “Operators will need to keep close eyes on any incremental increases – particularly during peak hours and in the upstream – as well as the impact of new quarantines in additional markets, but their networks seem in the meantime to be well-prepared to handle this increased data consumption.”

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COVID-19 Broadband Traffic Report
Among other daily usage trends in quarantined areas:

  • Average daily downstream consumption during the 9 AM to 5 PM business hours during the past week was 6.35 GB, which was 42.46% higher than the January level of 4.46 GB.
  • Average daily business hour upstream usage rose 82.5% from January through April 3 –from 0.215 GB to 0.392 GB.
  • Operators experienced significant growth during the 6 PM to 12 PM peak hours: Peak downstream consumption (6 PM to 12 PM) rose 21.15% from January. Upstream usage rose 35.95%.
  • Overall daily usage grew from 12.19 GB in January to 16.22 GB through April 3. This indicates a new monthly run rate of more than 480 GB per subscriber during the pandemic.

It’s not surprising that the situation is different in areas not under quarantine. In the January through April 3 timeframe, average daily consumption is up 38.2% weekdays from 9 AM to 5 PM, while peak hour usage up just 8%.

OpenVault reported in mid-March that broadband consumption jumped 41% in the week after the Center for Disease Control declared a pandemic.

Verizon tracked the changes in telecommunications in a less direct way. Last week, the carrier compared mobile handoffs to pre-COVID 19 averages. It found that they are down 53% in the New York City metropolitan area and 49% in upstate New York. The Mid-Atlantic/greater Washington DC area is down 39% and New England is down 37%. Southern California is down 35% and northern California is down 27%. Handoffs are down 29% nationally. These findings suggest that people are staying home and are a bookend to the OpenVault findings.

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One thought on “COVID-19 Report: Broadband Traffic Plateaus in Quarantined Areas

  1. Our company's cable modem service has held up quite well during the Covid quarantine. We have seen big spikes in overall data use but it peaks in the 5 PM-midnight time frame as should be expected with everyone at home looking for streaming content to watch. We have never come close to reaching the limits of our backbone fiber connection, so we are quite happy with how we have configured our system and how well it has fared. We are weathering this crisis just fine, and it will eventually pass.

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