Data: Broadband usage continued acceleration

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Broadband usage in Europe and the United States continued to accelerate at similar paces throughout 2018 and Amazon made substantial year-end inroads into consumers’ device ecosystems, according to broadband industry analytics and technology solutions provider OpenVault.

OpenVault’s data suggests that both average and median data usage for 2018 increased when compared with both 2017 statistics. Importantly, the rate of growth for median usage continued to far exceed the growth rate for average usage, indicating that consumption is growing across service providers’ entire subscriber bases, rather than only among heavy users.

OpenVault’s year end 2018 data showed that:

  • Average Usage is up 33.3 per cent – In Europe, average usage for all households was 168.2GB/HH in 2018, up from 126.2GB/HH at YE 2017, while US average usage in 2018 was 268.7GB/HH vs. 201.6GB/HH at YE 2017.
  • Median Usage rises >40 per cent – European media usage was 103.94GB/HH in 2018, as compared to 73.53GB/HH for YE 2017; US median usage was 145.2GB/HH in 2018, vs. 103.6GB/HH at YE 2017.
  • Power Users are doubling – The percentage of European power users – defined as those households using 1TB or more – more than doubled, to 0.7 per cent of all subscribers in 2018 from .3 per cent of all subscribers in 2017. In the US, the percentage of power users almost doubled in 2018, rising to 4.12 per cent of all households from 2.11 per cent in 2017.

OpenVault’s 2018 data also shows that average usage for households with flat-rate pricing was 282.1GB/HH, more than 9 per cent higher than the 258.2GB/HH average usage for households on usage-based billing (UBB) plans.  The percentage of flat-rate (non-UBB) households exceeding 1TB of usage was 4.82 per cent, a full percentage point higher than the 3.81 per cent of UBB households who exceeded the 1B threshold.

“As connected devices, streaming services and broadband speeds increase, service providers need an alternative to infrastructure upgrades that would enable them to keep up with demand,” said Josh Barstow, executive vice president of Corporate Strategy and Business Development for OpenVault. “Our analysis makes it clear that usage-based billing is among the most effective tools the industry has in managing consumption and reducing the need for massive capital expenditures.”

In addition to analysing trends in broadband consumption, OpenVault also tracked expansion within the consumer device landscape in the United States, observing a 5.3 per cent increase in connected devices when comparing the week after Christmas with the week before Christmas. While Amazon, Samsung and Apple collectively accounted for the majority of the growth, the 15.6 per cent rate of increase for Amazon devices was significantly higher than the rates of growth for Samsung (4.1 per cent) and Apple (2.9 per cent).

“Clearly, the substantial increase observed during the holiday season in the number of devices per household contributed to the data consumption usage growth we are seeing,” said Tony Costa, executive vice president and CTO of OpenVault. “Although Apple remains the dominant manufacturer in terms of total devices connected per household, Amazon is gaining market share in the race to own the household connected device environment.”


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