Even though overall demand was lower than the peaks seen in the previous three-month period, global broadband users are continuing to increase reliance on upstream bandwidth and are opting for faster speeds to meet dramatically changed usage habits, according to the Q2 2020 OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) report.
The latest edition of the quarterly report showed that upstream consumption rose 5.3% from the end of Q1 to the end of Q2, likely reflecting increased use of videoconferencing for business, educational and lifestyle purposes during the Covid-19 pandemic. OpenVault noted that the upstream rise continued even though overall usage actually declined by 5.5% on an annual basis during the same period. Upstream consumption was up 56% year-over-year through Q220.
As consumer usage increasingly extended across multiple devices simultaneously and operators offered complimentary speed upgrades and relaxed data ceilings, demand for faster bandwidth tiers accelerated during the same period. Even though total average usage declined from 402 GBytes to 380 GBytes in Q220, consumption is still well above pre-pandemic levels and up nearly 36% from the average of 280 GBytes at the end of Q219. The report noticed a similar effect reflected in the power user category, where the 8.7% of subscribers consuming 1 TBytes represented a 13% decline from 1Q20 to Q220 – but was up 112% from 4.1% in Q219.
With usage quotas relaxed during the pandemic, consumption by subscribers on usage-based billing (UBB) plans increased nearly 42% year-over-year, from 262.9 GB in Q219 to 372.8 GB in Q220. Average usage In Europe was 221.6 GBytes, down 10% from the 247.7 GBytes of 1Q20 but up 30% from the 170.2 GBytes in Q219.
Another trend was that consumers were upping their broadband packages. The Q220 OVBI showed that nearly 5% of subscribers now receive connections of 1 gigabit or faster, up 133% year-over-year and up 75% in the last six months alone. About 61% of all subscribers indicated that connections of 100 Mbps or faster, a one-year increase of 27%.
“Overall usage eased in the second quarter, but nothing is forever in this pandemic,” said Mark Trudeau, CEO of OpenVault commenting on the Q2 2020 OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) report. “The persistent pressure on upstream plant and the migration of subscribers to faster tiers, not to mention the unknowns of distance learning, remote businesses and emerging Covid hotspots ¬– these are all flashing signals that higher consumption levels lie ahead.”