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Average Monthly U.S. Broadband Usage Could Reach 650 GB in 2021

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(Image credit: Future)

The average U.S. broadband subscriber will use 600 GB - 650 GB of data per month by the end of 2021, consultancy OpenVault predicts.

According to Mark Trudeau, CEO of the Hoboken, N.J.-based firm that offers cable companies insight into their networks, the prediction is based on an historic trend of 25% average annual growth. 

OpenVault pegged average usage at 339 GB as recently as January of last year, right before the pandemic changed the world. Average consumption quickly spiked to 429 GB in April before leveling off. But average usage ended the year at 483 GB, OpenVault said in a report issued just several weeks ago.

Also Read: FCC's Jessica Rosenworcel Circulates Emergency Broadband Benefit Order

Trudeau said it isn’t just the pandemic that’s driving increased consumption—it’s all that speed, with cable operators now routinely making 200 Mbps a default setting. 

“You have to remember, it’s not just usage behavior that changes, but as faster and faster speeds become available, as subscribers move up to those faster speeds with higher-quality devices, etc., that all drives consumption,” he said. "So you could have the same usage behavior but with higher quality devices and higher speeds it’s going to drive more volume of usage.”

In its report released earlier this month, OpenVault also found that 14.1% of U.S. high-speed internet subscribers, per weighted average, used more than 1 TB of data per month in 2020, a 94% increase over 2019.

Notably, Comcast announced this week that it’s further pushing back plans to initiate a 1.2 TB monthly usage cap until 2022.