Netflix bandwidth usage

Bandwidth is the last thing on our mind when using the Internet. We watch a video or download a photo, and never think about the fact there’s a a huge flow of data behind it that people are using. An even bigger concept is the data flow of the entirety of the Internet. That’s so much data and bandwidth that it’s almost impossible to fathom.

So what’s even crazier than the bandwidth figures for the entire Internet? How much of it Netflix uses. A new study revealed that, at peak hours during March 2015 in North America, Netflix accounted for up to 37% of all Internet usage. That’s over a third of data flowing through the Internet. Read more below.

Variety reported on the Netflix bandwidth usage, with data which came from Sandvine, a Canadian bandwidth-management systems vendor.

According to their report, Netflix’s 37% bandwidth during peak usage time (which is undefined, but you imagine would be in the evening) compared very favorably to its competitors. YouTube had 15.6%, general web browsing was 6%, Facebook had 2.7%, Amazon Instant Video was 2.0% and Hulu was 1.9%. So if you add all those together – Netflix still wins handily.

So how did Sandvine get this data? They “collected from a representative cross-section of the company’s 250 service provider customers worldwide.” Of note is they reported similar data several years ago and, in 2012, Netflix accounted for 29% of Internet usage. What we can discern from that is Netflix is obviously growing, but not as much as one might think.

Even so, 37% of all internet bandwidth is staggering. It does kind of make sense when you realize of the 40 million subscribers, any time they use the service they are pretty much always streaming a huge amount of data. Even just reading this you’re barely using a fraction of a percentage of one person watching a Netflix show.

How often do you use Netflix? Do you think a number like this – over a third of internet bandwidth usage – is something that can be applied to most of the world?

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