Cord cutter broadband usage passes 500 GB a month

According to the Q3 2019 OpenVault Broadband Industry report, cord cutters' average broadband usage has risen rapidly to more than half a terabyte of data per month, creating ...

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According to the Q3 2019 OpenVault Broadband Industry report, cord cutters' average broadband usage has risen rapidly to more than half a terabyte of data per month, creating largely untapped opportunities for service providers.

The report examined the acceleration and impact of cord cutting, as well as differences in consumption patterns between subscribers on usage-based billing (UBB) plans and those on flat-rat billing (FRB) plans. Among the findings:

  • Average consumption by cord-cutter subscribers was 520.8 GB, an increase of 7% in Q3 alone and almost double the monthly weighted (UBB plus FRB) average subscriber usage of 275.1 GB.
  • The percentage of cord cutters who are "power users" consuming 1 TB or more of data per month is 12%, almost triple the 4.2% Q3 figure for weighted average subscribers.
  • The total number of power users increased 62% year-over-year, driven largely by FRB subscribers. While UBB subscribers chose 1 Gbps packages at a rate that is 89% higher than that of FRB subscribers, FRB subscribers exceeded 1 TB at a 30% higher rate and 2 TB at a 64% higher rate than those on UBB plans.

Although the trend toward streaming video is fueling rapid increases in consumption levels, OpenVault's analysis indicates that only 29% of consumers upgraded their broadband packages when interacting with operators' customer care teams to sever video services. Two-thirds of cord cutters maintained the same broadband packages, while 4% downgraded their broadband services.

"A cord-cutting event usually signals a need for faster broadband speeds," the report said. "Cord cutters are opting for high-bandwidth OTT services and are using multiple devices in the home to consume video, often simultaneously. This behavior lends itself to higher speed, higher margin broadband packages to ensure an acceptable broadband CX [customer experience], and the cord-cutting event is the best time for operators to educate customers and upsell them accordingly."

According to the report, the Q3 2019 overall weighted average broadband usage in the United States was 275 GB, a year-over-year increase of 21% over the Q3 2018 figure of 228 GB. During the same period, the median monthly weighted average usage increased nearly 25% from 118.2 GB to 147.4 GB, indicating that consumption is increasing across the market as a whole.

The report also compared usage across speed tiers between European subscribers and their North American counterparts: At higher levels of service, usage is closely aligned between the two regions and is virtually identical at the 50-75 Mbps tier; at lower tiers, North American subscribers are consuming data at vastly greater rates, including nearly 150% more at the 30-40 Mbps speed tier and nearly 50% more at the 10-20 Mbps tier.        

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