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Average Broadband Usage Hits A Record Half a Terabyte In 4Q21

Fiber optic
(Image credit: Pixabay)

JERSEY CITY, NJ—Average broadband usage hit a record in Q4, 2021, with usage leaping past the 512 GB, breaking the half a terabyte mark for the first time, according to the OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) report. 

Using data aggregated from its broadband management and analytics tools, the OpenVault data has shown a consistent increase in usage and speeds in recent years, with data consumption up 165% since Q4, 2017, when consumption was 202.6 GB. 

OpenVault also found that the average download speed of subscribers who consume more than half a terabyte or more of data per month is more than 2X the average speed of those subscribers who are consuming less than half a terabyte. 

The report also contains a breakdown of average consumption for six different speed tiers, ranging from 1.057 TB for subscribers provisioned for gigabit speeds to 185 GB for subscribers at speeds below 50 Mbps.

“Consumers have spoken through their use of the Internet,” the report said. “They are using applications that demand higher bandwidth and that rely on faster speeds and lower latency for an acceptable customer experience. It took about three years for bandwidth usage to double from 270 GB in 4Q18 to nearly 540 GB in 4Q21.” 

Other findings from OpenVault’s analysis of 4Q21 data patterns included:

  • Power users who consume 1 TB or more per month represented less than 2% of all subscribers in 2017; today they represent nearly 16%, a growth factor of more than 750%.
  • The percentage of super power users who consume 2 TB or more per month has risen even more sharply, from .12% of subscribers in 2017 to 2.65% today – a 20 fold increase.
  • Nearly one in five subscribers (18%) now is provisioned for broadband speeds of 500 Mbps or faster.
  • Consumption by subscribers on usage-based billing (UBB) plans continues to rise at a slower rate than by those on flat-rate billing (FRB) plans. For 4Q21, year-over-year median growth increased at a rate of 32% for FRB subscribers, almost 3X the 11% growth rate for UBB subscribers

The entire report is available here (opens in new tab).

OpenVault also provides continuously updated broadband consumption figures here (opens in new tab)

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.