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Report: Extreme power users challenge broadband networks

November 9, 2023

A new category of extreme power users who consume more than 5TB per month of broadband data has been identified in the Q3 2023 OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) report.

In a first look at the emerging category, OVBI notes that extreme power users on average stream 13 times as much data as users who consume 1TB or less. Extreme power users’ average upstream usage of 950 GB is 5.5 times that of subscribers who consumer 2-5TB per month and 12 times that of users of 1-2TB monthly. The majority of extreme power users (59 per cent) are on gigabit tier speed plans; however, more than 7 per cent are provisioned for speeds of 100Mbps or slower. The category, while small, grew 60 per cent year-over-year through Q3 2023.

“Although extreme power users that average 5TB or more monthly currently make up a modest fraction of subscribers, their numbers are steadily increasing in tandem with the widespread adoption of faster speed tiers,” the report notes. “Their heavy usage patterns – particularly in the upstream – will increasingly impact network performance, potentially resulting in subpar experiences for many customers, especially when they don’t receive the speeds they were promised.”

Extreme power users consume six times more data for online gaming than do users of 1TB or less per month; however, they consume the least amount of social media data when compared to users in other high-usage categories categories. The power user category has been defined and redefined multiple times since 2010, initially as consumption of >250GB of data in 2010 and later as >1TB of data in 2017 and >2TB of data (super power users) in 2018.

Other findings in the report include:

  • The monthly average data usage was 550.2GB, up 11 per cent year over year from 495.5GB in Q3 2022 and up 3 per cent from the 533.8GB recorded in Q3 2023.
  • Power users consuming 1TB or more per month grew to 16.4 per cent, a year over year increase of 19.7 per cent, while the percentage of super power users of 2TB or more increased by 35 per cent, to 2.9 per cent.
  • The percentage of subscribers on gigabit speed tiers reached a new high of 32.1 per cent in 3Q23,slightly more than the 31.6 per cent in Q2 2023, more than doubling the 15.3 per cent figure from 3Q22.
  • The percentage of subscribers on 100Mbps or slower plans (10.1 per cent) has dropped 22 per cent since Q3 2022.

Categories: Articles, Broadband, Consumer Behaviour, Research

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