Broadband usage patterns provide clues to imminent cord-cutting

Thursday, August 15th, 2019
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OpenVault Q2 2019 OVBI report tracks usage surges immediately before shifts from bundles

HOBOKEN, NJ — Subscribers’ broadband usage patterns can be predictors of cord-cutting, according to the Q2 2019 OpenVault Broadband Industry (OVBI) report issued today by OpenVault, a leading provider of industry analytics and technology solutions for broadband operators.

The report highlights how a study of thousands of subscribers who shifted to broadband-only packages during the first half of 2019 exhibited steadily increasing broadband consumption in the months preceding the change. OpenVault analysis shows that the difference in usage between cord cutters and average subscribers rose from 14% six months before the event to 20% in the month immediately prior and 30% in the month that the cord was cut. In the following three months, the difference rose to nearly 70%.

Using aggregate consumption of millions of subscribers, the OVBI report also showed the significant difference between internet-only households and those who have a bundled package of pay-TV and broadband services. Among Internet-only households, average bandwidth consumption in 2Q19 was 390.42 GB, while bundled subscribers consumed, on average, 210.89 GB of data in 2Q19 – a difference of 85%.

In addition, the report notes that in Q2:

  • Overall average broadband usage in the United States was 271.0 GB, reflecting continued steady year-over-year growth of 25% when compared to Q2 2018. Year-over-year median usage rose by nearly 32% to 144.5 GB, indicating increased usage across all levels of consumption.
  • Usage-Based Billing (UBB) remains useful in limiting the number of “power users,” those subscribers who consume more than 1 TB of data per month. When compared with subscribers on Flat Rate Billing (FRB) plans, UBB subscribers were 23% less likely to exceed 1TB of usage and 61% less likely to exceed 2 TB.
  • A higher percentage of FRB subscribers are provisioned for lower-speed packages compared to UBB subscribers. Among FRB subscribers, 41% are provisioned for speeds of 30 Mbps or less, compared to 13% among UBB subscribers. This indicates that many subscribers faced with UBB usage limits opt to upgrade to higher speed tiers which routinely come with even higher usage limits in order to avoid extra fees.

“While Usage-Based Billing often is considered as a revenue enhancing tool, the reality is that it spurs subscribers to find harmony between their broadband speeds and their usage patterns,” said Josh Barstow, executive vice president of Corporate Strategy and Business Development for OpenVault. “As more and more subscribers exhibit cord-cutting behavior, visibility into usage behavior and sound Usage-Based Billing plans will help operators to manage increasingly busy networks and ensure subscriber satisfaction.”