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Report: Extreme power users fueling upstream growth

May 15, 2024

A small but growing group of extreme power users is contributing to a steady rise in upstream consumption in broadband cable networks, according to the latest edition of the OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) report.

Extreme power users of 5TB or more per month consume almost 1TB – 956GB, on average – of upstream bandwidth per month, magnifying their impact on the most capacity-constrained part of the cable broadband network. Their usage is the latest factor leading to almost-uninterrupted upstream growth.

While downstream consumption experienced a 6 per cent decline in Q1 2024 vs the previous quarter, in line with historical seasonal patterns, the OVBI Q124 report noted that upstream usage rose slightly during the same period. First quarter usage of 40.4GB was a small increase over the 40.1 average at the end of 2023, and 13.1 per cent above the 35.7GB recording in Q1 2023.

“Ensuring optimal downstream quality remains important, but operators will do well to focus significant attention on the upstream plant,” the report observes. “Increased traffic – especially at the hands of a growing group of extreme power users of 5TB or more – shows no sign of abating. At current usage rates, each new extreme power user adds almost 1TB of upstream traffic on a single node.”

Other key findings in the report include:

  • The monthly average data usage was 605.8GB, up 8.1 per cent year over year from 560.5 GB in Q1 2023 and down 5.5 per cent from 641GB in Q4 2023.
  • Year-over-year median usage growth, an indicator of rising consumption across all subscribers, was 5.4 per cent, lagging behind the 8.1 per cent average usage growth, due to the impact of power users, super power users and extreme power users who individually consume high volumes of data.
  • Consumption is growing fastest among the most prolific users: Usage among power users of 1TB or more per month was up 15 per cent year-over-year, while super power usage (2TB or more) increased 30 per cent and extreme power usage (5TB or more) rose 57 per cent.
  • More than one-third of all subscribers were provisioned for gigabit speeds in Q1 2024, an increase of 20 per cent over the same period a year ago.

“Increased deployments of DOCSIS 3.1, DOCSIS 3.1+, and DOCSIS 4.0 networks are driving the need for new monitoring and network management solutions,” the report concludes. “While these technology advancements provide the speed necessary to meet subscriber demands, they are also amplifying the risks of poor QoE due to network impairments. Profile Management Application (PMA), Proactive Network Maintenance (PNM), and other automated solutions can optimise both network performance and subscriber experiences.”

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