Report: Broadband upstream consumption continues to peak in Q2

Broadband upstream consumption increased by 5.3% from the end of Q1 to the end of Q2, according to a report by OpenVault. The increase in upstream consumption was likely driven by the onslaught of video conferencing and remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Q2 2020 OpenVault Broadband Insight (OVBI) report.

While upstream usage continued its upward trend in the second quarter, overall broadband usage dropped by 5.5% during the same timeframe. Overall, upstream consumption increased 56% year-over-year through the second quarter.

Broadband users had a need for faster speeds during Q2. The demand for faster bandwidth tiers accelerated from the end of Q1 through Q2, as consumer usage increasingly extended across multiple devices simultaneously and operators offered complimentary speed upgrades and relaxed data caps.

RELATED: COVID-19 broadband usage starts to plateau—OpenVault

The 2Q20 OVBI report showed that nearly 5% of subscribers now have connections of 1 Gigabit or faster, up 133% year-over-year and up 75% in the last six months alone. OpenVault, which collects cable subscribers' usage behaviors and puts them into data set, said about 61% of all subscribers now have connections of 100 Mbps or faster, a one-year increase of 27%.

Additional findings in the report included:

• Even though total average usage declined from 402 GB to 380 GB in 2Q20, consumption was still well above pre-pandemic levels and up nearly 36% from the average of 280 GB at the end of 2Q19.

• A similar effect was reflected in the power user category, where the 8.7% of subscribers consuming 1 TB represented a 13% decline from Q1 to Q2, but was up 112% from 4.1% in 2Q19.

• With data caps relaxed during the pandemic, consumption by subscribers on usage-based billing (UBB) plans increased nearly 42% year-over-year, from 262.9 GB in 2Q19 to 372.8 GB in 2Q20.

• The average usage in Europe was 221.6 GB, down 10% from the 247.7 GB of 1Q20 but up 30% from the 170.2 GB in 2Q19.

With states and cities in different stages of their Covid-19 responses, it's hard to gauge what the impact will be for the rest of the year, and whether more employees will return to their office spaces.

“Yes, overall usage eased in the second quarter, but nothing is forever in this pandemic,” said Mark Trudeau, CEO of OpenVault, in a statement. “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.”