Netflix and YouTube are still eating the Internet

17 May 2013 by Steve Blum
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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.