U.S. Broadband Data Usage Has More Than Doubled Since Right Before the Pandemic, Latest OpenVault Report Reveals

Tunnel 'o data
(Image credit: Future)

U.S. broadband consumers are now using more than twice as much data each month than they were right before the pandemic, according to the latest quarterly report from Hoboken, New Jersey-based broadband analytics software and service provider OpenVault.

You can access all of OpenVault’s quarterly reports here

From October through December last year, U.S. high-speed-internet subscribers chewed through, on average, 641 gigabytes of the good stuff. Median consumption — a more accurate measurement of the bulk of the market — was 423.7 gigs.

Also read: Percentage of U.S. Homes With Gigabit-Speed Broadband More Than Doubles in 1 Year to 32%, OpenVault Says

Compare that to the fourth quarter of 2019, the last quarter before the COVID pandemic changed usage patterns forever — 344 GB was the average usage and 190.7 GB was the median during that three-month period. 

(Image credit: OpenVault)

OpenVault forecasts that average usage will reach 700 GB by the end of 2024 and 1 terabyte by the end of 2028.

Surprisingly (at least to us), data usage growth has accelerated more on the commercial side of the business. Data usage among business subscribers is up 136% in the four years since the pandemic started vs. 86% for residential customers. 

(Image credit: OpenVault)

Amid an overall quickening of speed tiers, one-third of American broadband subscribers now take plans rated at 1 gigabit per second or faster on the downstream side. 

(Image credit: OpenVault)

Notably, despite accounting for 33% of subscribers, gigabit-speed customers only chew through 9% of data, OpenVault said. 

(Image credit: OpenVault)

Finally, on the leading edge of data consumption, the term "power user" once applied to that narrow segment of the market that plowed through 1 terabyte or more of ones and zeroes each month.

Well, now that group accounts for 21.6% of the market, OpenVault says. Two TB a month is now the mark of the true power user. 

(Image credit: OpenVault)
Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!