According to the just-released 4Q 2021 OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) report, average broadband usage surged past the 512 GB, or half a terabyte, mark for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2021, continuing a major shift in consumption and subscriber speeds.
OpenVault is source of SaaS-based revenue and network improvement solutions and data-driven insights for the broadband industry. Using data aggregated from its broadband management and analytics tools, OpenVault said it has identified a pattern of lockstep growth in usage and speeds in recent years.
According to OpenVault, the average of 536.3 GB in the fourth quarter of 2021 represents a 165% increase over 4Q2017, when consumption was 202.6 GB.
Moreover, OpenVault found that the average download speed of subscribers who consume more than half a terabyte or more of data per month is more than 2X the average speed of those subscribers who are consuming less than half a terabyte.
The report also contains a breakdown of average consumption for six different speed tiers, ranging from 1.057 TB for subscribers provisioned for gigabit speeds to 185 GB for subscribers at speeds below 50 Mbps.
“Consumers have spoken through their use of the Internet,” the report stated. “They are using applications that demand higher bandwidth and that rely on faster speeds and lower latency for an acceptable customer experience. It took about three years for bandwidth usage to double from 270 GB in 4Q18 to nearly 540 GB in 4Q21.”
OpenVault’s analysis of 4Q21 data patterns also found that power users who consume 1 TB or more per month represented less than 2% of all subscribers in 2017; and that today, such users represent nearly 16% of subscribers, a growth factor of more than 750%.
Meanwhile, the analysis found the percentage of super power users who consume 2 TB or more per month has risen even more sharply, from .12% of subscribers in 2017 to 2.65% today – a 20 fold increase. Nearly one in five subscribers (18%) now is provisioned for broadband speeds of 500 Mbps or faster, added OpenVault.
Elsewhere, the analysis found that consumption by subscribers on usage-based billing (UBB) plans continues to rise at a slower rate than by those on flat-rate billing (FRB) plans. For 4Q21, OpenVault said year-over-year median growth increased at a rate of 32% for FRB subscribers, almost 3X the 11% growth rate for UBB subscribers