Report: Cord-Cutter broadband use passes 500GB a month

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US cord cutters’ average broadband usage has risen rapidly to more than half a terabyte of data per month creating largely untapped opportunities for service providers, according to the Q3 2019 OVBI (OpenVault Broadband Industry) report issued by OpenVault, a provider of industry analytics and technology solutions for broadband operators.

The report sheds new light on the rapid acceleration and impact of cord cutting, as well as differences in consumption patterns between subscribers on Usage-Based Billing (UBB) plans and those on Flat-Rate Billing (FRB) plans. Among the findings:

  • Average consumption by cord-cutter subscribers was 520.8 GB, an increase of 7 per cent in Q3 alone and almost double the monthly weighted (UBB plus FRB) average subscriber usage of 275.1 GB.
  • The percentage of cord cutters who are “power users” consuming 1 TB or more of data per month is 12 per cent, almost triple the 4.2 per cent Q3 figure for weighted average subscribers.
  • The total number of power users increased 62 per cent year over year, driven largely by FRB subscribers. While UBB subscribers chose 1 Gbps packages at a rate that is 89 per cent higher than that of FRB subscribers, FRB subscribers exceeded 1 TB at a 30 per cent higher rate and 2 TB at a 64 per cent higher rate than those on UBB plans.

Although the trend toward streaming video is fueling rapid increases in consumption levels, OpenVault’s analysis showed that only 29 per cent of consumers upgraded their broadband packages when interacting with operators’ customer care teams to sever video services. Two thirds of cord cutters maintained the same broadband packages, while 4 per cent actually downgraded their broadband services.

“A cord cutting event usually signals a need for faster broadband speeds,” the report notes. “Cord cutters are opting for high-bandwidth OTT services, and are using multiple devices in the home to consume video, often simultaneously. This behaviour lends itself to higher speed, higher margin broadband packages to ensure an acceptable broadband CX and the cord cutting event is the best time for operators to educate customers and upsell them accordingly.”

According to the report, the Q3 2019 overall weighted average broadband usage in the US was 275 gigabytes, a year-over-year increase of 21 per cent over the Q3 2018 figure of 228 GB. During the same period, the median monthly weighted average usage increased nearly 25 per cent from 118.2 GB to 147.4 GB, indicating that consumption is increasing across the market as a whole.

The report also compared usage across speed tiers between European subscribers and their North American counterparts: At higher levels of service, usage is closely aligned between the two regions and is in fact virtually identical at the 50-75 Mbps tier; at lower tiers North American subscribers are consuming data at vastly greater rates, including nearly 150 per cent more at the 30-40 Mbps speed tier and nearly 50 per cent more at the 10-20 Mbps tier.

 


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