OVBI: Average upstream data usage has nearly tripled since 2018

As Fiber and cable operators argue over whether symmetrical speeds are a necessity for consumers, OpenVault unveiled new data which shows uplink speeds have risen at a faster pace than download rates since 2018.

In its Q1 2022 Broadband Insights Report, OpenVault noted average monthly upstream usage hit 32.5 GB, up from 30 GB the year prior. Average downstream usage hit 481.3 GB, marking an increase from 432 GB in Q1 2021.

Though upstream traffic remains just a fraction of downlink usage, OpenVault noted it has been growing a bit more rapidly. Specifically, while average downstream traffic has jumped 2.3x since 2018, upstream traffic has risen 2.6x over the same period.

The report notes subscribers on unlimited plans as opposed to usage-based services are using more data in both categories, consuming 2.3x more downstream data than their metered counterparts and nearly 3x the data in the upstream. Putting numbers to the latter, unlimited subscribers gobble up 206 GB of upstream bandwidth compared to just 69 GB for metered users.

Its finding is consistent with statements made by AT&T VP of Broadband Technology Management Josh Goodell during Fierce’s Wi-Fi Summit in February. At the time, he noted uplink consumption had jumped 3x among multi-gig broadband users.

OpenVault’s report also highlighted a significant jump in the number of “super power users” who consume more than 2 TB of bandwidth per month. This figure rose 31% year on year in Q1 2022, while the number of “power users” consuming 1 TB or more increased 18%.

“Faster speed adoption was prevalent, with some network operators opting over the past year to increase speeds at no charge to subscribers,” the report noted. “This has driven more data consumption by power users, who are growing across all subscriber categories, particularly the ‘super power user’ category that consumes 2 TB or more per month.”

All told, the proportion of subscribers with gigabit service rose 37% year on year to 13.4%. Approximately 6.1% of users had speeds of 500-900 Mbps, 49.7% had speeds of 200-400 Mbps and 17% had speeds of 100-200 Mbps. Only 13.9% of users had speeds of 100 Mbps or below.