power broadband user

Broadband power users, defined as subscribers who use 1 TB per month or more, are growing dramatically, according to the latest OVBI report from OpenVault. Broadband users are also adopting faster speeds, according to OpenVault data.

The firm’s third quarter OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) report said that three important year-over-year performance indices illustrated the trend. There was a 110% increase in power users who use 1 TB or more of data (to 8.8% overall), a 172% increase in extreme power users consuming 2 TB or more of data (to 1% overall) and an increase of 124% in gigabit subscribers (to 5.6% overall).

broadband power users chart

“As traffic has exploded during the pandemic, data aggregated from our network management tools confirms the value of usage-based billing in prompting subscribers to self-align their speed plans with their consumption,” OpenVault CEO Mark Trudeau said in a press release. “Not only does this help operators generate ARPU increases but it also increases the quality of experience and therefore improves subscriber satisfaction.”

The firm analyzed the top 1% of broadband power users. It found that 80% of those on usage-based billing (UBB) plans subscribe to faster speed tiers that have higher average revenue per user (ARPU). Forty-nine percent of those using flat rate billing (FRB) take lower-speed (and lower-ARPU) plans. The report said that UBB operators had about 25% more gigabit subscribers than FRB operators during the quarter.

The report points out that the increase in power users and gigabit speed demand impacted network upstream performance during the quarter. The top 10% of subscribers consumed more than 34% of downstream and 54% of all upstream traffic; The top 1% accounted for more than 19% of total upstream usage and gigabit subscribers consumed 12.1% of downstream and 13% of upstream bandwidth.

Other key findings in the OpenVault broadband power users report:

  • The monthly weighted average data consumed by subscribers in the third quarter was 383.8 GB, an increase of almost 40% from 2019.
  • European total average usage is up 26% from almost 178 GB in the third quarter of 2019 to 224.9 GB in the third quarter of this year. Median usage for European subscribers was 155.5 GB, an increase of 36% from the year ago quarter’s 114.3 GB.
  • The “sweet spot” for bandwidth usage versus speed tier is 100 Mbps to 200 Mbps tier, in which 36% of all subscribers consume approximately 36% of all bandwidth.

The COVID-19 pandemic of course has had a great impact on telecommunications networks. The increase is particularly noticeable in the upstream direction due to the increase in work from home (WFH) and remote learning. In August, OpenVault reported that upstream traffic rose 56% year over year for the second quarter of 2020

OpenVault also noted spikes in broadband usage as last week’s presidential election unfolded.

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