Streaming media now accounts for more than 70 percent of broadband traffic during peak hours

By Shawn Knight
Dec 8, 2015
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  1. The Internet connection, once viewed as a luxury item for those fortunate enough to own a computer, has become an integral part of everyday life for billions of people around the globe. While the Internet is widely used for business purposes, today's web is largely used for the same purposes it was many years ago: entertainment.

    We're slap dab in the middle of a monumental shift in how we consume television, movies and music. The unprecedented movement is one you're probably already aware of but if not, have a look at these new statistics from broadband services company Sandvine.

    As Re/code highlights, the large red bars in the chart above tell the entire story. During peak traffic hours (in the evening), 70 percent of home broadband consumption in the US is related to streaming media. Web browsing and e-commerce combined account for just 15 percent of downstream consumption while social network usage sips about five percent.

    Just five years ago, streaming media accounted for 35 percent of broadband usage meaning we've doubled our consumption over the past half decade.

    Digging deeper, we find that Netflix and YouTube are responsible for the vast majority of media consumption at 37.05 and 17.85 percent, respectively.

    Streaming sources like Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV and YouTube offer end-users a dizzying array of media to choose from. The readily-available selection has prompted many to cancel their traditional cable subscriptions, saving hundreds if not thousands of dollars each year.

    Saving money while adding flexibility are concepts that everyone can get behind... everyone except the cable companies that are losing subscribers (money) and ISP that are having to handle loads of traffic. Naturally, it should come as little surprise that both entities are doing their best to milk the system for all it's worth for as long as they can.

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  2. ragreeen2646

    ragreeen2646 TS Rookie

    Streaming will ultimately increase the cost of internet. As the cable companies lose TV customers to streaming entertainment, they will ultimately offset that loss with increase ISP charges.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 905   +240

    I don't think this will kill cable companies... Most if not all cable companies that offer cable TV also offer cable internet service. They just have to shift their spending to their internet service, and provide competitive speeds, quality, and pricing. Now companies like DirectTV that rely on satellite... yeah they could very well be doomed.

    The US is severely lacking in internet backbone to handle the continued growth of online streaming. I really hope there are some big players that will or are already working on upgrading the infrastructure. With 4K video coming out we are going to be consuming several times as much bandwidth as we are now.
  4. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Maniac Posts: 932   +238

    I am not sure I agree with this as there are many places in the US where fiber is becoming more widely available.

    Actually, the backbone of the internet is quite capable of handling the load at this time - as I understand it. It is the ISPs who have no interest in upgrading their data carrying capabilities for home users. In my area, that is making room for a small ISP that is laying fiber to the home. 100 Mbit for $50/mo as opposed to the competition's "ultimate" 50 Mbit/5Mbit for $65/mo. If current cable ISPs remain complacent and do not upgrade their data carrying capabilities for home users as well as bring those prices down, they may be faced with significant competition.
  5. w8676

    w8676 TS Rookie

    You're completely right, in areas where competition has heated up speeds are skyrocketing towards 1gbps and retail prices have been slashed. AT&T Gigapower is a fraction the cost of the local cable companies 100mpbs service. That trend seems likely only to continue, IMO, although not nearly fast enough for the majority of the country that doesn't yet have that third pipe in to the home (cable, copper, fiber).

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