When the coronavirus pandemic forced many Americans to work and learn (and, really, do everything) from home last year, the amount of internet data the average household consumed began to rise rapidly. That rise has continued and, despite the hope of an end to the pandemic, appears destined to continue.
OpenVault, a company that collects subscribers' usage behaviors and puts them into data sets confirms what most industry analysts believed to be true. Their latest report, covering the 4th quarter of 2020, found that per-subscriber average data usage rose to 482.6 GB per month, a 40% increase over the same quarter in 2019 and a 26% increase over the 3rd quarter of 2020.
Not only are Americans using more data, but more Americans are going online. Internet subscriptions rose 6.5% in the last three months of 2020. For more on the OpenVault report, check out this article at Fierce Telecom.
Will average data usage drop once we the pandemic has come to an end and lives return to some version of normal? Possibly, but it's also possible that a full year in quarantine may have permanently reset some of life's routines. While almost everyone agrees that our children's education is best conducted in schools and not in living rooms, there may be a significant number of workers, driven home by the pandemic, that remain in some mix of remote work. Also, a year at home has likely enlightened some Americans to what they were missing online, creating new appetites for home entertainment that remain after the masks are put into storage. It will be very interesting to see OpenVault's reports a year or two from now to see what the trends were.
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Presented by the Community Broadband Action Network and curated by Curtis Dean.