Q2 2021 sees broadband usage surge | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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The latest study by network performance optimisation firm OpenVault Broadband Insights has shown a sharp increase in broadband data consumption in the second quarter of 2021.
Virgin Media O2 gigabit network 10 Aug 2021
Assessing the key dynamics and trends in network usage, the Q2 2021 OVBI study said that with both median usage growth exceeding average usage growth and upstream usage growth exceeding downstream usage growth, the impact on the network is far reaching and not driven by just a few subscribers or just by applications like streaming alone. Yet in a word of warning, the study also predicted that network operators would continue to be challenged to manage their infrastructures as they strive to balance higher usage with better customer experiences.

The study found that while the year began with network users adapting to the new broadband environment by embracing faster speeds but with data usage moderating, the second quarter of 2021 has seen the migration to faster speed tiers driving higher levels of broadband usage. Two key metrics – the percentage of subscribers provisioned for gigabit broadband speeds and those provisioned for speeds of 100 Mbps or less – moved sharply in opposite directions. The 10.5% of subscribers provisioned for 1 Gbps or higher found in the survey was more than double the 4.8% figure only a year earlier, while the percentage of subscribers provisioned for speeds of 100 Mbps or less fell by half, from 39.9% in Q220 to 20.1% through the same period.

Year-over-year growth of median usage across both usage-based billing (UBB) and flat-rate billing (FRB) subscribers jumped 22.7%, from 223.3 GB in Q220 to 274.0 GB in the second quarter of this year. The rate of increase was more than 64% greater than the growth in average usage during the same period, indicating said OpenVault that increased consumption is occurring across the subscriber base as a whole, rather than being concentrated among a few customers. In addition, the analysis suggested that almost 22% of subscribers would be well-served by upgrading their speeds.

The OpenVault’s analysis of Q221 also revealed that monthly weighted average usage – including both usage-based billing (UBB) and flat-rate billing (FRB) subscribers – was 433.5 GB, maintaining the trend of 14+% year-over-year growth evident in the first quarter of Q21, while exhibiting a quarter-to-quarter decline of 6% that is consistent with historic atterns. The percentage of subscribers using 500 GB or more increased 2.7%, from 28.2% in Q220 to 31.9% in Q221. Usage at the bottom end of the scale – 0-100 GB – fell 4.7 %, from 34.2% to 29.5%.

With 10.5% of subscribers provisioned for 1Gbps services and 10.8% consuming 1 terabyte or more of data, the OBVI noted that Q221 marked the first time that both metrics simultaneously topped 10%.

While power users - defined as those using more than 1 TB of date per month - and extreme power users – more than 2 TB/month - grew nearly 24% and 50%, respectively, from Q220 to Q221, the increase was moderated in systems that employ UBB plans. Extreme power users grew at a rate that was 31% less in UBB systems in Q221, and FRB systems had more than 20% more extreme power users on their networks by the end of the quarter.