Rising adoption of higher-speed broadband packages is accelerating the number of “super power user” subscribers who consume more than two terabytes (2 TB) of bandwidth per month, according to the 1Q 2022 OVBI (OpenVault Broadband Insights) report. The report was issued today by OpenVault, a market-leading source of SaaS-based revenue and network improvement solutions and data-driven insights for the broadband industry.
With the number of subscribers provisioned at speeds of 500Mbps or more per month approaching 20% – and with more than 13% of subscribers on gigabit speed plans – the super power user category experienced year-over-year growth of 31% in 1Q22, more than 72% faster than the 18% growth for “power users” of 1 TB or more during the same period. Data in the report was aggregated from OpenVault’s broadband management and analytics tools.
In 1Q22, annual percentage growth of super power users among operators employing usage-based billing (UBB) was 44%, double the 22% in flat-rate billing systems. OpenVault cites subscriber migration to higher cost unlimited usage plans in UBB systems as a key driver of this trend: In 1Q22, UBB networks had 27% more gigabit speed tier subscribers than FRB networks; and in one operator example, unlimited usage gigabit subscribers on average consumed 2.3x the data of usage quota subscribers and close to 3x the upstream data.
“Having more gigabit subscribers on a network means more revenue, but it also means more data usage,” the report notes. “But while UBB operators are seeing faster growth for power users and greater gigabit speed tier adoption, UBB networks are still better positioned to manage overall network traffic, with less bandwidth consumption across all subscribers on average, when compared to FRB networks.”
Other findings in the 1Q22 report include:
- For the second straight quarter, average usage topped half a terabyte, with monthly consumption in 1Q22 at 513.8 GB, up 11.3% from the 1Q21 average of 461.7 GB,.
- The 14.1% annual usage growth on FRB networks, to 545.9 GB, continued to outpace growth of UBB networks (10.3%, to 501.5 GB), highlighting UBB’s ability to better manage the rate of subscriber usage growth.
- During the NCAA March Madness College Basketball Championship Game between Kansas and Duke on April 4, network operators in the state of Kansas experienced a 24% spike in bandwidth usage at 10 p.m., the height of the game, over the previous three weeks.
- As subscribers migrate to higher speed tiers, the number of subscribers with speeds of 200Mbps or slower has declined almost 90% during the past year.