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The number of super power users who consume more than 2 terabytes (TBs) of data per month is accelerating, according to the first quarter OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) report.

The trend is evidence of an overall increase in high speed users. The super power category experienced 31% year-over-year growth. Power users – those consuming 1 TB or more – grew 18% during the period.

More than 13% of subscribers are on gigabit speed plans, the firm says. And the segment of subscribers subscribing to speeds of 500 Mbps or more per month is nearing 20% of the market.

During the first quarter, the growth of super power users among operators using usage-based billing (UBB) was 44%, with 22% growth in subscribers using flat rate billing (FRB) systems. The firm says that migration to higher cost unlimited usage plans in UBB systems drove the trend. In the first quarter, UBB networks had 27% more gigabit speed tier subscribers than flat rate billing systems.

“Having more gigabit subscribers on a network means more revenue, but it also means more data usage,” according to the report. “But while UBB operators are seeing faster growth for power users and greater gigabit speed tier adoption, UBB networks are still better positioned to manage overall network traffic, with less bandwidth consumption across all subscribers on average, when compared to FRB networks.”

Source: OVBI 1Q22 Report
  • Average usage topped half a terabyte for the second straight quarter. Monthly consumption in the first quarter was 513.8 GB, an increase of 11.3% from the year-ago quarter average of 461.7 GB.
  • The 14.1% annual usage growth on FRB networks — to 545.9 GB — continued to outpace the growth on UBB networks (10.3%, to 501.5 GB. This highlighted UBB’s ability to better manage the rate of subscriber usage growth.
  • During the April 4 NCAA men’s college basketball championship game between Kansas and Duke, there was a 24% spike in bandwidth for network operators in Kansas at 10 p.m., the height of the game, compared to the previous three weeks.
  • The number of subscribers with speeds of 200Mbps or slower declined almost 90% during the past year.
  • This spring, OpenVault reported that during the fourth quarter of last year the average gigabit subscriber used 1.057 TB of data each month. Average broadband consumption overall during the quarter was 512 GB, a 23.3% increase from the year-ago quarter.

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