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The number of gigabit subscribers is growing fast. There was a 35% increase in gigabit tier adoption — from 11.4% to 15% — between the third quarter of 2022 and the year-ago quarter, according to the latest OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) report.

More broadly, gigabit tier provisioning had increased by more than 600% since the third quarter of 2019.

The growth of gigabit subscribers was characteristic of a general increase in speeds. The firm found that over the past year, the percentage of subscribers provisioned from 200 Mbps to 400 Mbps doubled from 27.4% to 54.8% in the third quarter. OpenVault found that at the end of the third quarter only 4.7% of subscribers opted for speeds of less than 50 Mbps, which is less than half the figure from the third quarter of 2021 when 9.8% were in that category.

“This trend is impacting bandwidth usage characteristics, with faster growth in power users and median bandwidth usage,” the report says. “Faster speeds are fueling greater consumption that may be reflected in the need for greater capacity in the future.”

The full breakdown for the third quarter: 200 Mbps-400 Mbps (54.8% of subscribers); 1 Gbps+ (15.4%); 100 Mbps-200 Mbps (9.9%); 50 Mbps-100 Mbps (8.4%); 500 Mbps-900 Mbps (6.7%) and less than 50 Mbps (4.7%).

Other findings in the 3Q22 report include:

  • Average monthly usage of 495.5 GB was up 13.9% from the third quarter of 2021, when the average was 434.9 GB. It represented a slight increase over the second quarter of 2022, when the average was 490.7 GB.
  • Year-over-year growth of power users of 1 terabyte or more was up 18%, to 13.7% of all subscribers. The superpower user category of consumers of 2 TB or more rose almost 50% during the same time frame. 
  • Participants in the FCC Affordable Connectivity Program consumed 615.2 GB of data in the third quarter of 2022. This was 24% more than the 495.5 GB used by the general population.

OBVI reported last spring that the average gigabit subscriber used 1.057 TB monthly during the fourth quarter of 2021.

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