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Netflix Streaming Eats Up 35% of Downstream Internet Traffic: Study

Amazon's share of bandwidth consumption doubles over 18 months to 2.6%, according to Sandvine

Netflix’s video-streaming service continues to be the most bandwidth-hungry application on the Internet, now accounting for a whopping 34.9% of all downstream traffic during peak periods on North American broadband networks, according to a new study.

The No. 1 subscription-video service outstripped all other services in terms of bandwidth consumption, as measured over a one-month period this fall by bandwidth-management vendor Sandvine. That’s up from Netflix’s 34.2% share in the first half of 2014 and 31.6% in the fall of 2013, according to the study.

Netflix represented more than twice the bandwidth-usage of YouTube, which accounted for 14% of all peak-period downstream traffic in North America, compared with 18.9% in the second half of 2013, according to the report.

Amazon’s Instant Video represented 2.6% of peak downstream traffic in North America this fall. While that’s still far less than Netflix, Amazon’s video service has more than doubled its share of bandwidth consumption in the past 18 months, according to Sandvine. Hulu’s share of primetime downstream traffic stood at 1.4%, down slightly from 1.7% in the first half of 2014.

HBO’s streaming service for pay-TV subscribers, HBO Go, accounts for just 1% of downstream traffic in North America in primetime. But with the premium cabler’s plans to launch a standalone broadband service in 2015, untethered from pay TV, that could increase.

The study found BitTorrent file-sharing traffic continues to drop as an overall percentage of bandwidth consumption, representing 2.8% of peak-period downstream traffic in North America for the fall 2014 period. Over all, BitTorrent accounts for 5% of bandwidth usage in the region — down from 31% in 2008. In the Asia-Pacific region, however, BitTorrent still represents more than 33% of total traffic, according to Sandvine.

Meanwhile, Facebook’s share of downstream bandwidth in North America at peak hours is 2.98%, up from 1.31% in the fall of 2013, per Sandvine. Over the past year, Facebook’s traffic depending on the day increased by 60% on mobile networks and by more than 200% on fixed-line networks — a spike likely driven by the social giant’s addition of autoplay videos.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup this summer was expected to drive video-streaming traffic, particularly in Latin American countries. But World Cup streaming on some mobile networks in the Latin America region accounted for just 10% of traffic, Sandvine reported.

Sandvine’s semiannual Global Internet Phenomena reports are based on data provided by a subset of the vendor’s 250 Internet service provider customers worldwide. The vendor defines peak period as 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. local time.

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