OVBI: COVID-19 drove 51% increase in broadband traffic during 2020

Traffic on broadband networks rose by more than half and average broadband usage approached one-half a terabyte at the end of 2020, according to the Q4 2020 OVBI (OpenVault Broadband Insights) report issued recently by OpenVault, a market-leading source of SaaS-based revenue and network improvement solutions and data-driven insights for the broadband industry.

Per-subscriber average data usage for 4Q20 was 482.6 GB per month, a 40% increase over the 344 GB consumed in 4Q 2019 and a 26% increase over the 3Q20 average of 383.8. At the same time, broadband providers saw subscriber increases of 6.5%, creating a net effect of 51% more broadband traffic. 4Q20 median usage rose 54% year-over-year, to 293.8 GB per month from 190.7 GB in 2019.

In addition to record growth, the 4Q20 OVBI also shows general trends that became evident during the pandemic. OpenVault data shows that once average monthly usage jumped almost 47% in April of 2020, trend lines of rising and falling usage almost uniformly followed pre-pandemic norms, albeit at this new, higher level. The report also shows the continued growth of upstream usage - in 4Q20, upstream consumption was 31 GB/month, an increase of 63% over 4Q19.

The 4Q20 report also spotlights the continued effects of power users on broadband networks. Among the most recent data:

  • 14.1% of subscribers now consume more than 1 TB of data per month. That represents a 94% rise – 61% in 4Q20 alone – from the 4Q19 average of 7.25%.
  • Extreme power users, those consuming more than 2 TB per month, increased by 184% year over year, from 0.76% in 2019 to 2.2% at the end of last year. Similar to the 1 TB data, 120% of that increase occurred between Q320 and Q420.
  • Providers offering unlimited, flat-rate billing packages saw nearly 30% more power users than those with usage-based billing plans.
  • More than half (53.6%) of all subscribers now consume more than the former power user threshold of 250 GB per month.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was complete and has forever changed broadband usage patterns,” the report said. “Network operators now must contend with significantly higher average bandwidth usage, with implications for both network management and revenue. Network operators should evaluate all network management options to ensure they deliver the best customer experience while maximising profitability.”

OpenVault will host a webinar to elaborate on the report on Thursday 25 February at 11 am EST.  Please click here to register. 

The entire report is available at http://openvault.com/complimentary-report-4q20/. OpenVault also provides continuously updated broadband consumption figures at https://openvault.com/trusted/.

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