Forecast: Monthly broadband usage to surpass 250GB in 2020

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Median monthly usage by broadband subscribers in 2020 is on a trajectory to surpass 250GB for the first time, according to the Q4 2019 OVBI (OpenVault Broadband Industry) report issued by OpenVault, a provider of technology solutions and industry analytics for broadband operators.

Consistent with a correlation between broadband consumption and average provisioned speeds that has existed during OpenVault’s 10 years of analysis, the report notes that a 24.4 per cent increase in average provisioned speed, from 103.1 Mbps to 128.3 Mbps, in 2019 was slightly outpaced by a 27.3 oer cent increase in average consumption, from 270.2 GB to 344 GB.

A median usage of 250 GB would represent a 24.9 per cent increase from the 2019 median of 190.7GB. Using similarly historical factors for high volume subscribers, OpenVault expects that by the end of 2020 “power usage” of more than 1TB per month will account for at least 12 per cent of all subscribers, a 60 per cent increase from EOY 2019, and that “extreme power usage” of more than 2TB will reach 1.4 per cent of subscribers, an 80 per cent increase from EOY 2019.

“These trends are critically important planning metrics for operators to consider, especially those using slower DSL, early generation DOCSIS, or wireless-based platforms,” the report notes. “As these operators upgrade their networks, they can use predictive modeling to better plan for the impact on their network. OpenVault has found that network operators who transition to FTTP or DOCSIS 3.1 see a doubling or more of bandwidth consumption as a result.”

The OVBI report continues to explore the business and operational impacts of shifting broadband trends and operator strategies for addressing significantly increased consumption. Most notably, it cites a case study that shows how a shift to usage based billing from flat rate plans resulted in a near-term ARPU increase of nearly 14 per cent. The study notes that more than 40 per cent of subscribers contacted about the UBB programme opted to upgrade to higher-speed, higher-cost broadband tiers, and that only a small fraction – just 2.5 per cent – were impacted by overage fees.

Overall, the Q4 2019 weighted average broadband usage in the US was 344GB, 27 per cent more than the Q4 2018 average of 270.2GB, while median usage rose 32 per cent from 144.8 to 190.7 during the same period. “Power usage” continued to rise in Q4, with more than 7.2 per cent of subscribers consuming more than 1TB per month (up 80 per cent from Q4 2018) and “extreme power users” of more than 2 TB per month rising 123 per cent to 0.76 of all subscribers. In Europe, average monthly usage rose 24 per cent, from 158.7 GB to 196.3 GB, and median usage grew 31 per cent, from 93GB to 122.4GB.


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