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David Salway

Netflix Video Streaming Accounts for 20% of Prime Time Broadband Usage

By October 23, 2010

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In a recent study by Sandvine, entitled Fall 2010 Global Internet Phenomena, it was reportedWatching TV that more than 20% of downstream traffic in the US is from consumers downloading movies and video content from Netflix.

Sandvine, a network policy management company, may sound familiar to those following the net neutrality issue. They were the company the FCC accused Comcast of using  to throttle peer-to-peer traffic on its network, sparking the battle with the FCC, and the ensuing federal court ruling challenging the FCC's authority to enforce internet policy.

The findings in this report are significant because it is the first report in which Sandvine measured usage from both fixed and mobile broadband users. Data from the report comes from over 300 million global Sandvine subscribers, but does not violate customer confidentiality, as no proprietary information is shared.

From Dave Caputo, Sandvine CEO:
"For a subscriber the Internet is the Internet, regardless of when, where or how they connect to the network and that is consistent in our findings. Usage plans and personalized services that appeal to the broadband-individual, rather than the broadband-household have become the Internet of today."

The significant Netflix peak hours usage creates major network management concerns for broadband and cable TV providers, whose networks are judged by the quality of the most bandwidth intensive traffic passing over their network. With that much traffic passing during peak hours, carriers will have to change network management practices to encourage users to perform other online activities - such as online backups and bulk downloads, during off-peak times.

The report also stated that peer-to-peer traffic is evolving to include more live peer-to-peer video and TV streaming through services such as PPLive, PPStream, and StreamTorrent.

All of these observations will put pressure on the FCC to find more spectrum for broadband use. It will also keep pressure on broadband providers to provide high quality and fast Internet connections. Consumers continue to demand higher speeds and more bandwidth, applications are evolving to consume more bandwidth, and many sectors, such as healthcare and energy will be demanding more bandwidth to support growing demands from telemedicine and Smartgrid applications.


November 8, 2010 at 1:33 am
(1) Virtual Office Pbx says:

This clearly shows that there are lot of users going mobile and this industry has more potential to grow.

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