The proliferation of gigabit and multi-gig internet services in the U.S. is having ripple effects in the broadband market, spurring even lower-tier customers to adopt faster speeds and boosting the country’s average downstream rate. New data from Open Vault’s Q3 2022 Broadband Insights report showed the percentage of customers taking speed tiers offering 200-400 Mbps doubled year on year, while average download rates jumped by 93.9 Mbps over the same period.
In the quarter, OpenVault found 54.8% of consumers took speeds between 200 and 400 Mbps, up from just 27.4% in Q3 2021. Another 6.7% took speeds of 500-900 Mbps, while 15.4% had provisioned speeds of 1 Gbps or higher. The latter figure was up from 11.4% in the year-ago quarter. That means more than three-quarters of broadband subscribers now take speeds of 200 Mbps or higher. Meanwhile, the percentage of customers taking speeds of less than 50 Mbps dropped significantly from 9.8% to just 4.7%.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the adoption of faster speeds is driving average download rates up at a swift pace. From Q3 2021 to the same quarter of 2022, the average download rate in the U.S. rose from 253.9 Mbps to 347.8 Mbps. The upstream rate also rose from 17.7 Mbps to 23.5 Mbps.
As OpenVault observed in the report, “This trend is impacting bandwidth usage characteristics, with faster growth in both power users and median bandwidth usage.” Interestingly, the company noted broadband customers participating in the government’s Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) are using more data than the overall population – 24% more to be exact.
“Over 18% of ACP participants were power users in 3Q22, consuming over 1 TB of data per month, compared with close to 16% of the overall population,” the report stated. Power users are defined as those who consume 1 TB or more of data per month.
The reason behind the higher usage rate was not immediately clear, but OpenVault flagged “potential network issues among this cohort.”