The average household broadband usage has grown to an astounding 586.7 gigabytes per month. Comparing this to earlier years shows an ever-upward trend of broadband usage.
|2019||344.0 GB||74 GB||27%|
|2020||482.6 GB||139 GB||40%|
|2021||536.3 GB||54 GB||11%|
|2022||586.7 GB||50 GB||9%|
The average usage numbers are probably the most interesting statistic published by OpenVault. It would have been hard at the end of 2018 to find anybody who would have confidently predicted that in only four years that households would routinely be using 217% more broadband every month. These statistics also show the extraordinary impact of how the pandemic impacted broadband usage. It’s easily understandable how usage skyrocketed in 2020 when everybody was at home. But perhaps more extraordinary is that usage didn’t drop off as life returned to normal – broadband usage has continued to climb.
What OpenVault calls power users continues to climb. 18.7% of homes used more than 1 terabyte per month at the end of 2022, including 3.4% of households that used more than 2 terabytes. That’s a lot of homes that are surpassing the gigabyte data caps imposed by some ISPs.
The trend of homes subscribing to faster speeds is also continuing. Much of this increase comes from ISPs that have upped the speed on existing broadband products – but it’s obvious in looking at the numbers that people are also electing to upgrade to faster broadband packages. An extraordinary 26% of homes are now subscribing to gigabit or faster broadband speeds.
|Subscribers||4Q 2020||4Q 2021||4Q 2022|
|Under 50 Mbps||12.4%||9.4%||6.8%|
|50 – 99 Mbps||9.1%||7.6%||12.7%|
|100 – 199 Mbps||50.6%||36.9%||11.3%|
|200 – 499 Mbps||15.8%||28.5%||32.8%|
|500 – 999 Mbps||3.7%||5.5%||10.4%|
OpenVault also compared upload and download usage. The average home now uploads 35.3 gigabytes per month and downloads 551.4 gigabytes.
OpenVault says the average download speed achieved across the U.S. is 415 Mbps, and the average upload speed is 25 Mbps. While the FCC doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to change the definition of broadband, the reality of the marketplace would suggest that setting the definition of broadband at 100/20 Mbps would be significantly lower than what households are already achieving. Any definition of broadband ought to be at least a little forward looking, so I’m not sure why we aren’t considering that the definition of broadband ought to be something like 500/50 Mbps.
Incredibly, the upcoming $42.5 billion in BEAD grants would allow for the construction of technologies as slow as 100/20 Mbps. Hopefully, State Broadband Offices are noticing these market statistics and will give little consideration to technologies that far below the national average.