Study: Netflix makes up nearly one third of downstream Internet traffic, up 44%

Netflix now makes up nearly one-third of peak traffic to the home in North America and has become the largest source of Internet traffic overall, a new study released this week said.

Netflix, which has some 23 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada, is the source of 29.7 percent of all downstream traffic, up from about 20 percent last year, a 44 percent increase said Sandvine in its study, Global Internet Phenomena Report: Spring 2011. The company is a provider of broadband network solutions for fixed and mobile operators.

Netflix's increasing success in Canada, its first international market that was launched last year, should serve as an indicator of what's coming in the future, as the digital distribution company has acknowledged plans to expand to other international markets this year.

"With the rapid success of Netflix in Canada, Internet providers worldwide, regardless of access technology and degree of mobility, must plan for a future in which on-demand video (whether provided by Netflix or another service) is a large proportion, if not the majority of, last-mile traffic," Sandvine said.

In Canada, the threat of increasing bandwidth use by Netflix has prompted ISPs and pay-TV competitors to place restrictive bandwidth caps on consumers. Netflix has responded by reducing the size of its stream.

In the U.S., AT&T recently instituted a cap, albeit a less restrictive one than its Canadian counterparts, as well, along with Comcast which has a relatively liberal cap.

The company said real-time entertainment applications-which include sites like YouTube and Hulu--consume 49.2 percent of peak aggregate traffic, up from 29.5 percent a year ago. That's an increase of some 60 percent. And, Sandvine forecasts that the RTE category will continue to grow rapidly in 2011, to some 55-60 percent of peak aggregate traffic by the end of the year.

Sandvine said Latin American RTE was at 27.5 percent of peak traffic, the largest contributor of traffic in that region, and said Europe, real-time entertainment continues now makes up 33.2 percent of peak aggregate traffic, up from 31.9 percent last fall.

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
Netflix streaming impacts peak-time downloads
AT&T set to roll out Internet usage caps in May

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