On Fiber or Copper Access Connections, Heavy Users are Just Heavy Users

Given that a small single-digit percentage of consumers consume perhaps 80 percent of all ISP bandwidth, and that most consumers use more bandwidth when they use faster access services, it might seem axiomatic that customers on optical fiber connections would use more data than consumers on copper-based connections.

That is the case, data from Ofcom, the U.K. communications regulator, suggests. What might be more surprising is that heavy users, on either optical or copper access connections, do not consume vastly-different amounts of data.

Ofcom data suggests heavy users on optical access networks might consume about 1 Gbyte a day more than heavy users on copper access connections. 

But the 90 percent of other users have consumption patterns that are much less disparate. To wit, 90 percent of customers on optical connections use 665 Mb a day, while 90 percent of customers on copper connections consume 465 Mb a day, a difference of just about 100 Mb a day. 

The point is that heavy users behave pretty much the same way on optical or copper access networks: they consume 80 percent of total data used by all customers. 

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