Report: ‘Super Power Users’ Bogart Bandwidth Leading to Slower Speeds for All
As service providers steadily increase broadband package speeds, the first quarter of 2022 saw a rise in “Super Power Users,” or subscribers who utilize more than 2TB of bandwidth each month. Though seasonal trends would suggest a downturn in broadband growth, higher data packages may be fueling greater-than-average data downloads, according to the quarterly OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) report. OpenVault is a SaaS-based source for broadband technology solutions that aggregates data from across the globe.
Streaming and virtual media consumption are steadily cornering the virtual media market, and internet service providers (ISPs) are offering greater bandwidth to draw in more customers. Some ISPs have even raised speeds at no cost to their subscribers. Such increases prompt more data consumption to the point where “super power users” may cause dips in network speeds making streaming slower for everyone.
Overall growth in broadband consumption during Q1 was to be expected, but the spike in 2TB-usage rose by 31%, dwarfing the increase of 500mbps and 1tbps speeds. In addition, slower speed tiers found their subscriber base decline by 54%.
With a shift to higher-speed tiers, 200mbps subscriptions have plummeted by almost 90% in the past year, even though they still account for approximately 50% of total subscribers. Steady growth in higher-speed subscriptions places increased strain on broadband platforms to provide a quality experience for customers, but pricing models may help to stem slowdowns and provide users with consistency.
The battle between usage-based billing (UBB) and flat-rate billing (FRB) may hold the key to preventing broadband backups. UBB networks saw annual growth by 44% for 2TB users, versus just a 22% increase for the FRB model.
Even with an increase in subscribership for higher data tiers, UBB businesses had lower subscriber data usage by an average of 44.4 GB per subscriber per month. If their customers are getting faster speeds but using less data, the UBB pricing model may be what provides subscribers the speeds they want while avoiding internet congestion brought on by increases in bandwidth.
As more and more of our professional, personal, and entertainment focus shifts to streaming, faster, reliable internet speeds are increasingly a must-have. However, as with all aspects of cord-cutting, eventually, the price catches up to the technology, so consumers will likely be asked to pay even more for the services that they need in the future.