Broadband Usage Growth Flattening, Says OpenVault

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HOBOKEN, N.J.—The broadband usage curve is beginning to flatten in markets that have been quarantined because of the coronavirus, according to analytics company OpenVault.

Since people began staying at home to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus about three weeks ago, there was consistent double-digit growth in broadband usage. However, for the week of March 30-April 3, the total downstream data usage in quarantine markets declined 5.8% compared to previous weeks. Total upstream usage was still on the rise, but only increased by 2.3% from the prior week.

Since January 2020, daily broadband usage has surged because of coronavirus precautions. The biggest increase has been during typical business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m.). As of April 3, the average daily downstream consumption during business hours was 6.35 GB, 42.46% higher than January’s 4.46 GB. Daily upstream during business hours increased 82.5% from January to April 3 (0.215 GB to 0.392 GB).

It’s not just during business hours, however, that an increase has occurred. Peak hours  (6 p.m.-midnight) have seen a 21.15% downstream surge since January, and upstream usage has risen 35.95%. Overall, daily usage grew from 12.19 GB in January to 16.22 GB as of April 3.

Areas that have not had to deal with restrictive social distancing policies have seen less growth, according to OpenVault. In those areas, broadband usage has increased 38.2% during business hours and an 8% surge during peak hours.

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“It’s too early to say that the industry has weathered the storm of additional usage, but signs point to the greatest surge of growth by far as being behind us,” said Mark Trudeau, CEO and founder of OpenVault. “Operators will need to keep close eyes on any incremental increases—particularly during peak hours and in the upstream—as well as the impact of new quarantines in additional markets, but their networks seem in the meantime to be well-prepared to handle this increased data consumption.”

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