OpenVault: Power broadband users and gig speed adoption ramp up in Q3

According to a report by OpenVault, there's a year-over-year increase in the number of power broadband users. (Pixabay)

The migration to faster speeds and increased broadband usage by power users were two of the main trends in OpenVault's latest report.

The OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) report for the third quarter found a 110% year-over-year spike in power users, who accounted for 8.8% of all subscribers. OVBI defined power users as subscribers that consumed 1 TB or more of data per month. There was also a 172% jump in "extreme" power users that consumed 2 TB or more and now account for 1% of all subscribers.

The report also found a 124% increase in customers that subscribed to 1-Gig speeds, which increased to 5.6% overall.

Since March, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an increase in broadband usage due to employees working from home and online learning, and, to a lesser extent, online gaming. With the larger home-based workloads, there has also been a marked increase in upstream usage during the pandemic.

According to the Q3 report, the top 10% power user and 1-Gig subscribers consumed more than 34% of the downstream traffic and 54% of all upstream traffic. The top 1% accounted for almost one-fifth (more than 19%) of total upstream usage while gigabit subscribers consumed 12.1% of downstream and 13% of upstream bandwidth.

OpenVault, which collects cable subscribers' usage behaviors and puts them into data sets, said in its report that usage-based billing broadband operators had 25% more gigabit subscribers than flat-rate billing service providers.

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“As traffic has exploded during the pandemic, data aggregated from our network management tools confirms the value of usage-based billing in prompting subscribers to self-align their speed plans with their consumption,” said OpenVault CEO Mark Trudeau, in a statement. “Not only does this help operators generate ARPU increases but it also increases the quality of experience and therefore improves subscriber satisfaction.”

The third quarter report also found that the monthly weighted average data consumed by subscribers was 383.8 GB, up nearly 40% from last year. The sweet spot for bandwidth usage versus speed tier was the 100 Mbps to 200 Mbps range, in which 36% of all subscribers consumed approximately 36% of all bandwidth.

European total average usage was up 26% from nearly 178 GB in the same quarter a year ago to 224.9 GB in the recent third quarter. Median usage for European subscribers reached 155.5 GB, up 36% year-over-year when usage stood at 114.3 GB.

The report also said the average household used 359 GB of downstream and 25 GB of upstream bandwidth in Q3, supporting four streaming services and more than 10 connected devices.