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Broadband

Average monthly data usage nears half a terabyte as 1-Gig adoption climbs – study

Overall data usage and the percentage of broadband customers provisioned for 1-Gig speeds both saw sizable jumps in the third quarter of 2022, according to OpenVault's latest Broadband Insights Report.

Overall data usage among broadband subscribers on either usage-based billing (UBB) or flat-rate billing (FRB) policies flirted with half a terabyte. The weighted average reached 495.5 gigabytes in Q3 2022, a smidge ahead of 490.7GB average seen in Q2 2022, and a 13.9% increase from the year-ago average of 434.9GB, said OpenVault.

Click here for a larger version of this image. 
(Source: OpenVault Q3 2022 Broadband Insights Report)
Click here for a larger version of this image.
(Source: OpenVault Q3 2022 Broadband Insights Report)

OpenVault, a company that specializes in collecting and analyzing household broadband usage data, bases its quarterly reports on anonymized and aggregated data from "millions of individual broadband subscribers."

Adoption of 1-Gig-plus speeds continues to inch higher. OpenVault found that 15.4% of all broadband subs were provisioned for speeds of 1-Gig or more in Q3, up 35% from the year-ago quarter.

However, the tier with the fastest annual growth is in the range of 200 Mbit/s to 400 Mbit/s, which doubled to 54.8% of all subscribers. The percentage of customers on low-end 50Mbit/s tiers shrank to just 4.7% in Q3 2022, down more than 50% from the year-ago quarter.

Click here for a larger version of this image.  
(Source: OpenVault Q3 2022 Broadband Insights Report)
Click here for a larger version of this image.
(Source: OpenVault Q3 2022 Broadband Insights Report)

The study also found that "super power users" – defined as consuming 2TB of data or more per month – grew 50% on a year-over-year basis. That growth rate was almost double that of "power users" (1 TB or more), which grew nearly 28% year-over-year.

ACP data usage still outpacing the field

Usage among broadband customers participating in the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) continued to outpace that of the broader average.

OpenVault, which began to track a sample of ACP subscribers in Q2 2022, found that ACP participants consumed an average of 615.2GB of data per month Q3, 24% more than that of the larger population (495.5GB). Additionally, more than 18% of ACP participants consumed more than 1TB of data per month, a couple of percentage points ahead of the overall population.

Speaking to Light Reading in October, OpenVault founder and CEO Mark Trudeau said high levels of data usage among ACP participants is surprising, but he said it's likely due to households in the program that use the funds to upgrade to faster speed packages.

As a successor to the original Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program, ACP provides qualifying low-income households with a $30 per month subsidy ($75 for tribal households) that can be applied toward Internet subscriptions.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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