Netflix is the largest source of Internet traffic in North America

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Sandvine today announced the release of its Global Internet Phenomena Report: Spring 2011, including Internet trends from North America, Latin America, and Europe. Since the last report in the fall of 2010, the general trend appears to be a growing appetite for on-demand applications. There were three major findings in the report:

  • In North America, Netflix is now 29.7 percent of peak downstream traffic and has become the largest source of Internet traffic overall. Currently, Real-Time Entertainment applications consume 49.2 percent of peak aggregate traffic, up from 29.5 percent in 2009 – a 60 percent increase. Sandvine forecasts that the Real-Time Entertainment category will represent 55 to 60 percent of peak aggregate traffic by the end of 2011.
  • In Latin America, Social Networking (overwhelmingly Facebook) is a bigger source of traffic than YouTube, representing almost 14 percent of network traffic. Real-Time Entertainment represents 27.5 percent of peak aggregate traffic, still the largest contributor of traffic in that region.
  • In Europe, Real-Time Entertainment continues a steady climb, rising to 33.2 percent of peak aggregate traffic, up from 31.9 percent last fall. BitTorrent is the largest single component of both upstream (59.7 percent) and downstream (21.6 percent) Internet traffic during peak periods. In the UK, BBC's iPlayer is 6.6 percent of peak downstream traffic, reflecting the demand for localized content in many markets. Overall, individual subscribers in Europe consume twice the amount of data as North Americans.

The statistics in this year's study are based on voluntary and completely anonymous data, aggregated from fixed and mobile service provider networks spanning the three markets. Sandvine argues that by including over 220 service provider customers spanning more than 85 countries, it can offer the most comprehensive report of its kind in the industry.

"The information and trends in Sandvine's Spring 2011 Global Internet Phenomena Report, emphasize the need for innovative solutions to keep up with rapidly evolving consumer demands for content and connectivity. The dramatic growth of Netflix and its impending global expansion are prime examples of a growing appetite for real-time entertainment," said Dave Caputo, President and CEO, Sandvine. "It is also important for fixed and mobile broadband providers to have real-time policy control capability, made possible by insightful business intelligence, in order to put sound strategic decisions into action."

The Netflix statistic is by far the most impressive. The Los Gatos, California-based company was established in 1997 and started its subscription service in 1999. By 2009, it was offering a collection of 100,000 titles on DVD, surpassing 10 million subscribers. In September 2010, Netflix launched its streaming service in Canada for $8 per month. It isn't available anywhere outside of the US or Canada (yet?) but we can imagine the impact of the company if it was.

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