Advanced Television

OVBI: FCC affordable connectivity participants are heavy broadband users

September 12, 2022

Broadband usage patterns of participants in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program are significantly exceeding those of the broader connected population, according to initial results contained in the 2Q 2022 OVBI (OpenVault Broadband Insights) report. The report was issued today by OpenVault, a market-leading source of SaaS-based revenue and network improvement solutions and data-driven insights for the broadband industry.

Launched in January 2022, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) provides low-income households with a $30 per month ($75 for tribal households) subsidy that can be applied towards a monthly internet subscription. Data from several thousand ACP households during 2Q22 has revealed the following:

  • ACP participants’ average usage of 654 GB per month is 33.3% higher than the average of 490.7 GB for all subscribers.
  • ACP participants’ median usage of 499.3 GB per month is almost 60% higher than the median of 313.9 GB per month for all subscribers.
  • ACP participants are 36% more likely to be power users of 1 TB or more, and 52% more likely to be super power users of 2 TB or more.

“Early indications suggest these participants have a healthy appetite for broadband, driving significantly higher usage patterns in comparison with the average subscriber,” the report states. “With close to one-fourth (23.8%) of ACP participants qualifying as power users, the impact of an expanding ACP subscriber base has significant implications for broadband traffic, particularly in the last mile.”

Another key finding in 2Q22 was the continued change in the usage patterns of Usage-Based Billing (UBB) subscribers, which traditionally had lower growth rates in relation to those on Flat-Rate Billing (FRB) plans. As UBB operators are driving subscribers to higher-speed, higher-ARPU tiers, average UBB subscriber usage is growing at a faster rate than average FRB usage. In 2Q22 UBB usage grew 20.6% year-over-year to 310.7 GB, while FRB usage grew only 8.1% to 322 GB during the same time period.

Other findings in the 2Q22 report include:

  • Average monthly usage of 490.7 GB dropped below the half-a-terabyte mark for the first time since 3Q21, but still was up 13.1% from 2Q21’s average of 433.5 GB.
  • Thirty-six percent of all subscribers consume half a terabyte of data each month in 2Q22.
  • In just four years, the number of super power users consuming 2 TB or more has increased more than 2,200%. Super power users now represent 2.21% of all subscribers, while power users of 1 TB or more represent 13.6% of all subscribers.
  • The average upstream data usage of 31.2 GB in 2Q22 is 2.3x the 2018 average of 13.6 GB.

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