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Netflix accounts for 29.7% of US internet traffic

Netflix accounts for 29.7% of US internet traffic

Video streaming services such as BBC iPlayer already account for increasing amounts of internet traffic.

Figures released by network monitoring firm Sandvine show that video-streaming service Netflix accounted for nearly a third of US internet traffic in March.

According to Sandvine's figures, usage of the popular movie and TV streaming site accounted for 29.7 per cent of downstream traffic at peak times, making Netflix the single biggest source of internet traffic in the US.

Even during off-peak periods, Netflix still accounted for 22 per cent of traffic during most 24 hour period. The latest report from Netflix itself shows that the company now has 23.6million subscribers, with nearly 1 million new subscribers joining per month in the seven months leading up to the report.

Interestingly, the report shows that a Netflix subscriber using an Xbox 360 has about twice the daily content consumption as an average Netflix subscriber, with owners of the console topping 80GB in the course of a month.

Consoles also occupy the top two slots for devices that use the service, with the PlayStation 3 accounting for nearly 31 per cent of the total data downloaded. The Xbox 360 comes second with 25 per cent, with the PC in third place and Nintendo Wii in fourth place.

In the UK, YouTube still has the most users at 19.5 million, while BBC iPlayer has 9 million. There has already been friction between the BBC and ISPs over who should pay for upgrades to the UK's broadband network to meet the increasing demand for video content. The latest figures have led some to suspect that traffic shaping will become far more common place, particularly with smaller ISPs who may struggle to increase their bandwidth.

Which video streaming services do you use? Do you already suffer from streaming or buffering issues with you ISP at peak times? Let us know in the forums.

16 Comments

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FelixTech 19th May 2011, 13:05 Quote
I can't help but think this is down to something simple, like Netflix defaulting to the highest resultion rather the lowest (no idea if this is true). If a service is using 29% of peak bandwidth then I can't help but think it's a technical problem rather than a positive thing.

Imagine if someone tried to market a piece of software with features such as "Now with an average download requirement of 40Gb per month!". I would have thought measuring downstream traffic is a pretty bad metric to judge popularity.

Who here would be impressed if a study found Steam accounted for 29% of CPU usage? No-one. We'd start a riot in the forums!
AcidJiles 19th May 2011, 13:05 Quote
ISPs make loads of profit, claim no money to upgrade lines. Britain slips further down internet tables. Other countries offer 1GB lines for similar to 50MB lines here. No miscommunication.
Mentai 19th May 2011, 13:06 Quote
That's impressive. Goes to show legitimate business models do work and movies aren't going to die from piracy (not that we didn't know that already). Too bad services like Netflix aren't and will probably never be available in NZ, not that we have the bandwidth for it anyway.
javaman 19th May 2011, 13:18 Quote
It should be up to the owners of the pipelines to upgrade them. After all, its like me offering a taxi service and expecting to road service or the clubs where I pick people up from to pay for the upgrade. Its simple, they'll move to someone who can provide the service. Thats the problem with big buisness atm, its all about keeping the investors happy rather than creating a profitable business. same with Tesco, they make millions in profit a year yet when food prices go up its their customers that take the hit, yet their profits still continue to rise. Eventually when prices get high enough everyone will go else where. Asda is cheaper every time, heck my local butcher is cheaper and better quality. A few years ago the butcher looked like premium products now theyre outstanding value. The government has stepped in cause it can't afford the ISP's to hold back development any more. Tax payer money going to increase ISP profits.

If the government has to step it, wouldn't mobile broadband be cheaper and quicker way to hit it's coverage goals? Products like the Atrix certainly make computing mobile and always available. Last time I checked, wi-fi hotspots where either locked, slower than 3G, open for a nice fee or lacked any decent range. Cloud computing is a non start with tethering being cracked down on or current laws regarding wi-fi.
billysielu 19th May 2011, 14:03 Quote
It's a free market - if users don't like their ISP's service they will move. (unless they're in Hull LOL)
devilxc 19th May 2011, 14:22 Quote
UK broadband isn't all bad look at Net Index...
http://netindex.com/value/
Paul2011 19th May 2011, 14:35 Quote
just read that devilxc, who else thought Chesapeake, Virginia actually said cheapskate! lol
Xir 19th May 2011, 15:11 Quote
I've used video streaming services here in Germany, and am very unimpressed:
  • Maxdome - simply doesn't run right, caches for ages and then still doesn't playback smooth
  • Lovefilm - Smooth playback, decent audio, but a resolution that sucks. Pixelated like compressing 10 movies onto one VCD philipino-style.
  • Youtube - starts to stutter at 360 resolution, 720 is unplayable
  • Kino.to - works...sometimes. But is illegal ;)
And all that from a 6000 kBit network

A movie in a decent resolution, say a compressed DVD is under one GB and has to be streamed in about 1-1 1/2 hours...shouldn't be that impossibe.
shigllgetcha 19th May 2011, 15:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by devilxc
UK broadband isn't all bad look at Net Index...
http://netindex.com/value/

Value does not always equate to quality.

It could just mean people in the uk pay little for a crap speed.
John_T 19th May 2011, 16:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shigllgetcha
It could just mean people in the uk pay little for a crap speed.

Haha! In the UK we don't pay little for anything! :D
Sloth 19th May 2011, 18:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by FelixTech
I can't help but think this is down to something simple, like Netflix defaulting to the highest resultion rather the lowest (no idea if this is true). If a service is using 29% of peak bandwidth then I can't help but think it's a technical problem rather than a positive thing.

Imagine if someone tried to market a piece of software with features such as "Now with an average download requirement of 40Gb per month!". I would have thought measuring downstream traffic is a pretty bad metric to judge popularity.

Who here would be impressed if a study found Steam accounted for 29% of CPU usage? No-one. We'd start a riot in the forums!
To my knowledge, Netflix does try to run at the highest resolution that your network will support. It's for streaming movies (and TV shows), a certain level of quality is expected. For someone like myself who watches an average of at least an hour of content each day on Netflix it's easy to see how 80GB a month comes about. A couple of funny videos on Youtube at 240p pales in comparison.
The_Beast 19th May 2011, 18:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by billysielu
It's a free market - if users don't like their ISP's service they will move. (unless they're in Hull LOL)

That's just the thing. Where I live, a rural part of the state (like most people in the US) we only have 2 choices for high speed internet service. Verizon and some local satellite provider. Verizon is $45 a month for a 1.5mb line. The satellite company wanted $60 for a 1mb line. The only other internet providers are dial-up services. So for me at least it isn't a free market
r8bwp 19th May 2011, 19:59 Quote
Im supposedly on a 16mb with sky but i have trouble watching a 480 p song on youtube without it buffering. any higher resolution and its a joke.. I use this site to monitor my download speeds.http://www.thinkbroadband.com/tools.html The telephone exchange is due to be upgrade to tbbh next month. Will this make a difference to the quality? PLEASE I hope so!!!!
AcidJiles 19th May 2011, 20:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by billysielu
It's a free market - if users don't like their ISP's service they will move. (unless they're in Hull LOL)

Thing is its not real competition as with so many services.
bobwya 19th May 2011, 21:06 Quote
A guy from BT Broadband, called me up to try and sell me a package last year. I told him I'm happy with O2's 16Mbit service. The guy actually said but our tests show you can only pull 9Mbit download. So my response was naturally - uhhmm, OK... so where's my chuffing fibre then?!!
ADSL it's practically Victorian... (I can spit to reach my local BT exchange... well practically :-) )
impar 20th May 2011, 10:39 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Netflix Is Not 30% Of Internet Traffic
...
To clarify, Netflix is small part of overall Internet traffic but a big part of last-mile traffic. Netflix saves money and time and offers higher quality streaming by replicating and caching its content at data centers across the U.S. (and now Canada) to be as close to its customers as possible. That episode of Battlestar Galactica you watched last night did not travel across the entire Internet backbone from Reed HastingsĀ’ office to your living room. It probably only traveled a few miles or so. Netflix tries to minimize its presence on the true Internet backbone.

Kudos to Dr. Erick Schoenfeld for at least clarifying that point at the end of this post.
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