OpenVault just published its Broadband Insights Report for the end of the second quarter of 2023. As usual, OpenVault is documenting the continued growth in broadband usage by U.S. households.
I think one of the most useful statistics from OpenVault is the average household usage of broadband in gigabytes. Below is the trend in average U.S. household broadband usage since 2019. These numbers include combined download and upload usage.
|2nd Quarter 2019||280.0|
|2nd Quarter 2020||380.2|
|2nd Quarter 2021||433.5|
|2nd Quarter 2022||490.7|
|2nd Quarter 2023||533.8|
The following graph shows the usage of household average broadband usage since the beginning of 2019. This chart shows the second quarter usage (measured at the end of June) is always the lowest quarter each year, with the highest usage at the end of the fourth quarter.
Anybody who predicted these levels of average household usage levels twenty years ago would have been laughed out of the industry. Twenty years ago, the cutting-edge broadband products were DSL and cable modems that delivered speeds of around 6 Mbps download and barely any upload. We’re now at a place where the average home uses over half a terabyte of data each month.
OpenVault classifies households that use more than 1 terabyte of data per month as power users. 15.6% of all U.S. homes are now in the power user category. The average usage for power user homes is 2.21 terabytes per month, which is almost six times higher than the average non-power user household. If you’re wondering how power users use so much data, the average power user consumes 500 gigabytes of data per month just for gaming and almost 300 gigabytes for social media.
As usual, the report is full of other interesting statistics:
- Homes that are subscribed to the FCC’s ACP (Affordable Connectivity Plan) use more data than other homes. Homes where the ACP subsidy covers the entire broadband bill use 18% more data than non-ACP homes . Homes where part of the bill is covered by ACP use almost 41% more broadband than non-ACP homes.
- The migration to faster broadband plans continues, and only 10.4% of all U.S. broadband subscribers are buying a plan with an advertised speed of less than 100 Mbps. 75% of U.S. homes now subscribe to download speeds of 200 Mbps or faster.
- Upload usage continues to grow, and the average home now uploads 36.1 gigabytes of data per month – another number that was inconceivable even a decade ago.