Netflix and YouTube are still eating the Internet


And the hits just keep on coming.

One-third of prime time Internet traffic on North American wireline networks is generated by Netflix viewers. Another third comes from other video sources – legal and otherwise – and anything else people do on the Internet accounts for the remaining third. That’s according to the latest semi-annual report by Sandvine, an Internet technology and research company based in Waterloo, Ontario.

Mobile viewers, however, prefer shorter videos on YouTube, which accounts for 27% of peak mobile download traffic, as well as coming in second place on fixed networks at 1%. Netflix’s long form programming only accounts for 4% of mobile download traffic, seventh on the list.

BitTorrent-based peer-to-peer traffic of more doubtful provenance is falling behind legal streaming from Netflix, YouTube and the like. It’s fourth on the download list, with about 6% of the total. On the other hand, about a third of the upload traffic on North American wireline networks is still generated by BitTorrent file sharing.

Probably not so coincidentally, the heaviest one percent of users also account for a third of the upload traffic. The study doesn’t come to any explicit conclusions, but the inference is clear: the small fraction of users that do a lot of uploading are more likely than not primarily engaged in file sharing.

On a monthly basis, the average North American household downloads 39 GB and uploads 6 GB. That’s a 39% increase compared to a year ago. But heavy users skew those numbers too. Half of North American households download 16 GB and upload 1.3 GB a month or less.

Sandvine’s research more confirmation, if any were needed, that the continuous growth of Internet traffic is driven by video consumption.

About Steve Blum

Steve Blum is president of Tellus Venture Associates, a management, planning and business development consultancy for municipal and community broadband initiatives. He is a 30-year industry veteran and an expert in developing new broadband infrastructure and services, including wireless, fiber optic and satellite systems. His career includes playing key roles in the launch and growth of DirecTv in the U.S., as well as other satellite broadcasting platforms around the world. For the past ten years, he has helped build municipal wireless and fiber optic broadband systems. His client list includes many California cities, such as San Leandro, Palo Alto, Oakland, Los Angeles, Lompoc and Folsom. He’s a member of the executive team for the Central Coast Broadband Consortium and has worked with other regional consortia in California. Steve is the author of seven books on the Internet and satellite broadcasting and is a frequent contributor to professional journals and industry events. He holds an A.B. in History from the University of California, Berkeley, an M.A. in East Asia Studies from the University of Washington, and an M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas. He is a triathlete and multiple Ironman finisher, and is currently ranked in the top 100 of the Challenge Triathlon world rankings, out of more than 30,000 athletes.