The gift-giving season is upon us and new connected devices that are unwrapped will spike broadband usage and set the consumption stage for the year ahead, according to OpenVault’s recent analysis. We can’t be certain what the New Year will bring, but after 10 years at the center of the broadband revolution, we’ve got some ideas of the challenges and opportunities that are ahead for operators, their networks, and ultimately, their bottom lines. So here OV rounds up the most critical broadband trends to prepare for in 2020:

Power Users on the rise – “Power users” who consume 1TB or more of data per month have increased 62% year-over-year, according to the Q3 2019 OVBI report.  OV prediction: By the end of 2020 more than 8% of all broadband subscribers will be 1TB power users and the percentage of subscribers using 2TB or more will exceed 1% for the first time. As more subscribers consume high quality streaming video simultaneously across multiple devices, we expect more operators to implement Usage-Based Billing strategies that can manage power use and ensure that subscribers enjoy satisfactory experiences.

New highs for Cord Cutter consumption: MoffettNathanson predicts that the loss rate for traditional pay-TV, satellite and telco pay-TV services soon will reach 6.2%.  The impact on operator networks is substantial: pay-TV cord cutters’ average broadband usage surpassed half a terabyte in 3Q19, almost double the monthly weighted average subscriber usage. OV prediction: New streaming services such as Disney+ and Apple TV+ combined with higher speed tiers and network upgrades will drive cord cutters’ usage well beyond the 500GB mark; operators will need to leverage customer support resources to ensure that subscribers are sufficiently upgraded to accommodate the anticipated higher usage.

Make way for “Broadband First” – Cord cutting’s significant impact on how content is accessed is prompting some operators to make a strategic shift away from offering traditional video subscriptions. OV prediction: As new “Broadband First” strategies that de-emphasize traditional video subscriptions continue to proliferate, operators will re-examine every area of their businesses. In Broadband First scenarios, operators must determine where the growth is happening, how best to configure networks and bandwidth speeds, and how to optimize marketing campaigns and customer care efforts to better serve the subscriber. They’ll need accurate and holistic visibility into broadband usage before and after the transition to ensure success.

Global alignment will increase – European operators are continuing to upgrade their networks, transition to fiber broadband delivery and more widely offer faster broadband speed tiers. While North America has in the past been a precursor for European wireline broadband trends, we’re seeing closer alignment between the two markets at the higher broadband speed tiers. OV prediction: Overall European usage behavior patterns will more closely mirror the North American experience, expediting the need for operators abroad to proactively plan for, and efficiently manage, increasing bandwidth demands and subscribers’ usage.

It’s all about the User Experience – Increasing broadband consumption is driving operators to focus on improving the User Experience. Whether it’s faster speeds, better connectivity or service package configuration, operators are seeing the value of aligning customer needs with the consumption behaviors and device topography in the home. OV prediction: Operators looking for new ways to offer and market customer-centric service – including content specific exclusions, right-sized packages, flexible payment options and improved diagnostics capabilities – will seek increased visibility and application-layer data to help them understand and respond to customers’ specific needs and ensure an optimal user experience.

As we embark on a new year and a new decade, we can make one prediction with absolute certainty: data usage and content consumption will continue to increase significantly throughout the world. Operators need tools – such as those available from OpenVault – to enable proactive, responsive broadband management and to deliver the optimal customer experiences that can generate new revenues.