Report: Cord Cutters Come Close to Hitting Data Caps Every Month

A new report from Sandvine (by way of Ars Technica reveals that that the average cord cutter is almost always near going over ISP imposed data caps. According to the firm's latest Global Internet Phenomena report released today (based on measurements in March), Internet users in the U.S. who are considered cord cutters "consume on average 212GB a month, more than seven times the usage of a typical subscriber." The report goes on to say that 'cord cutters' consume an average of 100 hours of video a month and account for about 54 percent of total traffic consumed each month.

Comcast, the nation's largest broadband provider, is rolling out a 300GB monthly limit in parts of the country it controls, with $10 charges for each additional 50GB consumed.

About 6 percent of broadband users use more than 200GB a month, with the top 5 percent of online video users hitting an average of 328GB a month, according to the report. That number represents total data usage, including both upload and download on fixed networks; the data does not include cellular Internet.

For the top 15 percent, 153GB out of the 212GB total is made up of audio and video. The top 5 percent uses an average of 328GB a month, with 250GB of that coming from streaming audio and video. The top 10 percent uses an average of 247GB a month, with 182GB coming from streaming audio and video, according to data provided to Ars Technica.

Sandvine estimated that the top 15 percent of subscribers watch an average of 100 hours of video.

Sandvine's report also notes that Netflix now accounts for 34.21 percent of North American traffic at peak viewing periods, up from 31.62 percent in the second half of 2013. YouTube is second at 13.19 percent. Netflix's rise in share is due to its increased use of "Super HD" videos, which Sandvine said can be "up to 50 percent larger than the previous 1080p content."

Twitch.TV is one of the top-15 applications on networks across the globe and now generates more traffic than HBO Go on US networks, according to the report.

On a related note, this other Ars Technica report reveals that Comcast plans to have a data cap of 500 GB in five years across the board.

Speaking with investors today, Comcast Executive VP David Cohen said, "I would predict that in five years Comcast at least would have a usage-based billing model rolled out across its footprint."

This news is important in what it means to customers of both Time Warner Cable and Comcast going forward. Data caps are an issue that should be addressed before the FCC and the Justice Department approve the proposed merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast.

Source: Ars Technica

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