Sandvine, a broadband networks analytics company, released their report “Global Internet Phenomena” yesterday. The report offers a deep view of broadband behavior via “a representative cross-section of Sandvine’s customer base, which includes more than 220 Internet providers serving hundreds of millions of subscribers in more than 85 countries” (Sandvine).
Netflix stole the show, accounting for 29.7% of all downstream traffic (traffic engaged in streaming data or otherwise downloading data to a computer from the internet), during peak hours. In fact, even averaged over the entire day, and when including upstream traffic (traffic engaged in uploading content to the internet), Netflix accounts for more bandwidth consumption than any other single entity.
Debate over broadband pricing structure has been heating up and is likely to arrive center-stage as companies like Netflix continue to threaten telecoms. Last week, Cable One introduced a metered-data plan, which tiers 50 megabits per second speeds at 50 or 100 gigabytes per month. The Company will charge 50 cents per gigabyte over those caps, the Washington Post reports. The FCC endorses usage-based pricing as per its “net neutrality” order last December.
For now, the debate between consumer groups, who claim usage-based pricing “is a way to stifle Internet use and keep low-income users off the Web,” and the researchers and lobbyists, who believe that “properly implemented, usage-based pricing has the potential to reinvigorate broadband penetration, at a time when penetration gains have slowed to a crawl,” will rage on. And with forecasts putting on-demand entertainment traffic at between 55 and 60 percent of peak aggregate traffic by the end of 2011, broadband pricing structure may become as pervasive as mobile data plans.
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