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U.S. Internet Usage Has Doubled Since 2018

Stephouse Networks
(Image credit: Stephouse Networks)

The mainstream adoption of bandwidth-intensive habits like streaming video has had a dramatic impact recently on broadband networks. And that's being felt on a particularly intense level here in the U.S. 

Based on an average weighted measurement, Americans used 536.3 gigabytes of data in the fourth quarter, an 11% year-over-year uptick. The figures come from OpenVault, a Hoboken, N.J.-based provider of  “revenue and network improvement solutions and data-driven insights for the broadband industry." 

(Image credit: OpenVault)

The increase represents dramatic growth in just a 48-month timespan, with average weighted U.S. data usage measured at just 202.6 GB in the fourth quarter of 2017. 

(Image credit: OpenVault)

Not surprisingly, the increased data usage has arrived hand in hand with the enhanced ability to use data. According to OpenVault, as of Q4 2021, only 17% of U.S. internet service subscribers had a plan that was rated at less than 100 megabits per second for downloads. 

The company said that gigabit homes, a tiny minority of less than 1% not that long ago, now represent 12.2% of the pie. 

(Image credit: OpenVault)

As OpenVault has effectively charted over the past several years, the number of "power users" has grown at an increasing rate. Nearly 18% of customers who are on flat-rate-billing plans use 1 terabyte or more of data a month, and over 3% now use more than 2 TB. 

The numbers are significantly lower -- but not that much lower -- for plans that are billed based on data usage. 

(Image credit: OpenVault)

This last graphic from OpenVault's Q4 report was most surprising to us -- at 536.3 GB for average weighted data usage, U.S. consumers chew through nearly twice as much 1s and zeros as their European counterparts do. 

(Image credit: OpenVault)
Daniel Frankel
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!