Broadband Usage Skyrockets Post-pandemic for high bandwidth, high speed applications
A recent study conducted by OpenVault - a global leader in broadband technology analytics - reports that consumers are increasingly using applications that require higher bandwidth, faster speeds and lower latency, all key benefits of fiber broadband technology.
And consumption is keeping up with demand.
A terabyte once seemed like an exorbitant amount of data. Now we’re halfway there. According to the report, monthly weighted average bandwidth use doubled in just three years, going from 270 GB in the fourth quarter of 2018 to nearly 540 GB in late 2021, an upward trend that’s expected to continue. The report also highlights an 11% increase in data consumption in the one-year period between Q4 2020 and Q4 2021.
Along with bandwidth, the demand for speed is rising. With nearly 18% of North American subscribers currently accessing broadband speeds of 500 Mbps or greater, there are many end users in need of faster connections. According to the study, currently 28.5% of users connect at speeds of 200 to 400Mbps, 36.9% connect at 100 to 200Mbps, while 18% connect at speeds of 100Mbps or slower.
Average household broadband statistics illustrate dramatic usage growth:
- 504G download/32G upload usage
- 269Mbps downstream/19Mbps upstream speeds
- 9 streaming services per household
- 25 connected devices per household
“OpenVault expects that in the post-pandemic world these usage consumption trends will continue. As subscribers demand faster speeds and consume more data, understanding the implications for network planning and the customer experience is a priority.”
The pandemic detonated broadband consumption. An increase of 165% occurred between 2017 and 2021. Now that half the workforce is working remotely either part or full-time and rural communities are experiencing residential growth as more people work from home, high speed connectivity becomes more and more critical.
The Digital Divide Is Real
While the internet power users studied by OpenVault who consume 2 TB or more per month has risen by a 20-fold increase since 2017, most people living in underserved and unserved areas continue to limp along with terrible or non-existent broadband connections.
Initial speed test findings in one town partnering with Sertex revealed anemic average download speeds of less than 14 Mbps and upload speeds of 1.3 Mbps. Realistically, the average user today needs 100/50 Mbps to deliver reliably acceptable online experiences. Municipal fiber optic networks offer the best solution to close the digital divide by bringing high quality, reliable, and affordable service that reaches every home and business.