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Report: Broadband usage-based consumption on par with flat-rate use

May 17, 2023

A key broadband trend was upended in the first quarter of 2023 as subscribers on usage-based broadband (UBB) plans achieved and slightly exceeded consumption parity with their flat-rate (FRB) plan counterparts for the first time, according to the OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) report. The Q1 2023 report was issued by OpenVault, a market-leading source of SaaS-based revenue and network improvement solutions and data-driven insights for the broadband industry.

The OVBI report notes that significantly higher rates of usage growth among UBB subscribers resulted in average (562.7 GB) and median (382 GB) monthly UBB consumption that was marginally higher than the 555.5 GB average and the 371.1 GB median for consumers on FRB plans. The report leverages data aggregated from OpenVault’s suite of broadband management tools.

“Implications for the broadband industry are mixed,” the report said. “On the one hand, faster speed adoption often results in higher ARPU for operators and increased satisfaction for consumers as they ‘right-size’ to subscription plans that are aligned with their actual usage.  On the other hand, operators who have viewed UBB as a tool to reduce strain on the broadband plant will need to explore new solutions for maintaining and improving network health and alleviating network congestion.”

Past OVBI reports have detailed the connection between faster internet speeds and increased data consumption. OpenVault’s analysis shows that in Q1 2023 approximately 30 per cent more UBB subscribers (90 per cent) enjoyed speeds of 200 Mbps or faster than did FRB subscribers (63 per cent). During the same period average usage grew at a rate of 12.2 per cent for UBB subscribers, nearly 7x that of FRB consumers, while median usage grew at a rate of 17.3 per cent for UBB subscribers as FRB median usage remained flat.

Other findings in the Q1 2023 report include:

  • While overall monthly average data usage rose 9.1 per cent year over year to 560.5 GB, from 513.8 GB in Q1 2022, monthly median data rose 11.9 per cent to 378.6 GB, from 338.4 GB a year ago. The higher median growth rate indicates a broad increase in consumption across operators’ entire subscriber bases.
  • The percentage of power users consuming 1 TB or more per month in Q1 2023 was 17 per cent, a year-over-year increase of 16.2 per cent, while  super power users consuming 2 TB or more per month rose to 3 per cent from 2.4 per cent a year earlier, a 26.9 per cent YoY increase.
  • The percentage of subscribers on speed tiers of 500 Mbps or faster reached 40% in 1Q23, an increase of 106 per cent over Q1 2022.

The entire report is available at

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