Each year brings an astonishing surge in Internet usage, and 2014 was no exception. In response to this leap in demand, BendBroadband has overhauled its Internet packages again, increasing usage allowances to meet the accelerating demand for data.
Over the past couple of months, average use per customer has been over 65 GB – an all-time high. To put that figure in perspective, our customers were consuming an average of 18 GB in 2010, so usage has nearly quadrupled over five years.
There’s no mystery surrounding these increases. We’re connecting more and more devices to the Net at home. It’s normal for my teenage daughter to be streaming Netflix while doing research on her iPad and chatting with her friends on SnapChat. It’s easy to see why Internet usage is increasing – and that’s just one of my daughters. There are five of us in the house, using a total of five smartphones, two smart TVs, four iPads and three laptops. We’re averaging over 200 GB of data every month.
The streaming of video and audio via the likes of Netflix and YouTube continues to be the largest factor in data usage. “Cord-cutters,” who use streaming as a primary form of entertainment, usually consume more than 200 GB of data a month, according to industry data.
It doesn’t stop at streaming. The latest consoles all connect to the Internet to enable interactive gaming as well as the downloading of new games. Also, we’re connecting more and more devices to our home networks. Popular applications like Snapchat, which sends picture messages, are having a profound effect on Internet traffic.
Customers are already giving us some positive feedback on our new Internet packages, which take effect March 1.
Beyond choosing the package that’s right for you, there are measures you can take to manage your usage. We encourage customers to regularly check their data usage via our website. Simply go to My Account and select Internet Usage. Use your BendBroadband email address and password to access your statistics. You can also manage your usage notifications here, and request email notifications when you have used 70, 90 and 100 percent of your monthly allowance.
You can also change the settings on streaming services like Netflix, which has High, Medium and Low options. Choosing a lower setting can substantially decrease data consumption, and often has little or no effect on picture quality.
Other factors can drive up your usage, including computer viruses and people connecting to the Net using your Wi-Fi router without your knowledge. The help pages on our website have lots of information on these subjects, and our technical support team is available to help you.
In the meantime, rest assured that we are continually analyzing the amount of traffic passing across our network and using that data to make decisions regarding infrastructure investments.