Openreach has started what it calls a Fibre Index and while the main metric is currently some bare bones information on the data usage on their network, it does provide some salient lessons for those looking towards superfast satellite i.e. as people get faster connections they are finding more to do with it and also raises questions over whether data capped fixed line broadband solutions just exist to have a low price point for comparison listings, i.e. does anyone buy them?
40% per year growth in data consumption shows how quickly things are growing and the key driver based on what we see people complaining about when they have slow broadband is catch-up TV and box-set binging when you eschew the programme guide and watch what you want to watch.
The reality that data consumption is not uniform is shown by the 25/75 split, and this suggests that the average for the top 25% is 253GB per month with the larger 75% of users averaging out at 21GB per month. Or expressed another way, 25% of people are almost saturating a 1 Mbps connection 24/7.
Correction: We are so used to working with our monthly figures, we overlooked the Openreach data was 3 months (June to August), so have corrected figures in our worked analysis.
The lack of symmetric consumer options is often thrown at Openreach as an example of what they are doing wrong, but it would appear data use from users is still asymmetric - overall average of 8.3GB data uploaded each month. It could be argued that if the connections were symmetric more data would be uploaded but when we see an average upload speed on FTTC of 8.1 Mbps (thinkbroadband speed test results for October 2015) there is scope for people to upload over 2500 GB per month, so while some may find FTTC upload speed limiting this is likely to be a very small sample of people.
The interesting part will be what other snippets Openreach can add to its fibre index over time, e.g. which parts of the UK are using the most data.