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Broadband Traffic Spikes About 50% Amid COVID, Open Vault Reports

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HOBOKEN, N.J.—By the end of 2020, broadband networks saw traffic rise by more than 50%, while the average broadband usage approached one-half a terabyte, according to Open Vault’s Q4 2020 OVBI (Open Vault Broadband Insights) report.

Open Vault found that per-subscriber average data usage for Q4 2020 was 482.6 GB per month, a 40% increase over the 344 GB consumed in Q4 2019; it also was a 26% increase over Q3 2020’s 383.8 GB. With a broadband subscriber increase of 6.5%, Open Vault reports there was a net effect of 51% more broadband traffic in Q4. Media usage, meanwhile, rose 54% year-over-year, from 190.7 GB in 2019 to 293.8 GB in 2020.

Beyond growth, new trends also have emerged related to the pandemic. Since the 47% increase in average monthly use in April 2020, rising and falling trend lines have followed pre-pandemic norms, but at this new, higher level. There is also continued growth of upstream usage, with Q4 2020 seeing 31 GB/month of upstream consumption, up 63% year-over-year.

Other findings from the Open Vault report include 14.1% of subscribers are now consuming more than 1 TB of data per month, nearly double the Q4 2019 average (7.25%); extreme power users, who consume more than 2 TB per month, increased 184% year-over-year; more than half (53.6%) of all subscribers now consume more than the former power threshold of 250 GB per month; and on the provider side, those offering unlimited, flat-rate billing packages saw nearly 30% more power users than those with usage-based billing plans.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was complete and has forever changed broadband usage patterns,” the report notes. “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 maximizing profitability.”

For more information, visit Open Vault’s website