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Netflix uses 32.7 percent of Internet bandwidth

Sandvine, Inc.

Netflix consumes 32.7 percent of the Internet's peak downstream traffic in North America, and "continues to be the most powerful driver of evening traffic, and for that matter, of daily traffic overall." 

Sandvine, Inc., which makes equipment used by cable and phone companies to manage their Internet systems, also says in a new report that despite "some negative subscriber reaction to price hikes, Netflix has continued to increase its presence by adding 1 million U.S. subscribers since the Spring 2011 report, and by many measures Netflix rules North America’s fixed access networks."

Earlier this week, Netflix said it ended September with 23.8 million U.S. subscribers, down about 800,000 from June.

Has Netflix peaked, and hence its Internet traffic, too?

In its "Global Internet Phenomena Report," Sandvine raises the question itself:

... has Netflix traffic reached a maximum as a share of total Internet traffic in the United States? With so many Netflix-capable devices, the addressable market for the service is already enormous and will only increase, so it’s hard to envision a scenario in which absolute levels of Netflix will decline. However, Netflix is facing increased local competition, and as a result new services might grow at a faster rate.

Globally, Netflix will grow — the service is available in almost 50 countries and the company is aggressively pursuing licensing deals with locally-focused content — but in the United States specifically, we might have seen the peak.

Last year, both Web surfing and peer-to-peer file sharing — mainly the illegal trading of copyrighted movies — were each larger than Netflix's traffic," noted the Associated Press. But by last spring, Netflix exceeded both of those activities.

So for now, Netflix remains the 800-pound gorilla of the Internet. Sandvine says Netflix also accounts for:

  • 29 percent of "peak period aggregate traffic" — HTTP (Web surfing) is second with 16.6 percent.
  • 23.3 percent of "daily aggregate traffic"  — BitTorrent (peer-to-peer file sharing) is second with 16.5 percent.

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