Broadband News

Openreach publishes a little information on data use across GEA fibre network

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?

How data use is evolving on Openreach GEA fibre network

100 = the traffic levels for December 2012

Openreach fibre connections data consumption growth

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.

Average data use and peak usage patterns on Openreach fibre network

100 = the traffic levels for December 2012

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.


To check my comprehension - 165 GB average download over 3 months or 55 GB/month ?

  • herdwick
  • over 2 years ago

If that average is 190GB/month per line, then that does explain why most people find AAISP's idea that home usage of 100gb is 'more than enough' to be incorrect.

  • jchamier
  • over 2 years ago

No surprise with AAISP, if you add a cap then most of the users will change their usage patterns to avoid going over the cap.

Then their average is no longer going to represent the national average.

  • -Alex-
  • over 2 years ago

My bad on the month versus 3 month part, have added a correction.

This actually further weakens the case for calls for symmetric connections.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 2 years ago

Ahhhh... I'd not noticed that the usage could indeed be measured over 3 months instead of just 1.

Not very clear, is it? I wonder which it *really* is?

8:1 ratio for downstream:upstream usage does indeed tell us something about the need for symmetric connections. And this is a true indication of demand, unlikely to be limited by available throughput (that ratio is closer to 4:1 for most lines).

  • WWWombat
  • over 2 years ago

Actual ratio is likely to be better than 4:1 as upstream doesn't drop as fast as Downstream due to the frequencies used so 60:19 is fairly normal on a 80Mb package. Only the 40:2 packages bring the ratio down towards 4:1.

  • jumpmum
  • over 2 years ago

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