Here’s some good news if you happen to be a vendor that sells broadband gear to network operators and gets a nice shot in the arm with every upgrade cycle: Internet consumption is exploding and is showing no signs of dissipating.
The average, global fixed broadband speed will jump from 11.3 Mbps in 2012 to 39 Mbps in 2017 – a 3.5-fold increase -- Cisco predicted in its latest Visual Network Index (VNI) Forecast. In North America, Cisco’s predicting a slightly smaller jump -- from 13 Mbps in 2012, to 38 Mbps in 2017.
Again, that’s just the global average speed and just one prediction among many presented by Cisco in its latest study of global broadband usage. Depending on the ISP and the region of the world, maximum burst speeds for residential broadband services, particularly in the downstream, are running anywhere from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps.
And here are some data points for ISPs that have launched or are considering launching usage caps to chew on: the average Internet household (globally) will generate 74.5 gigabytes per month by 2017, versus 31.6 GB in 2012. Put into video terms, 31.6 GB is equal to about 13 hours of HDTV, while 74.5 GB equates to 30 hours of HDTV.
Cisco is also predicting that 9% of homes in South Korea will eat up more than 250 GB per month, followed by the U.S. (3% of homes), the United Kingdom (2.5% of homes), Brazil (1% of homes) and Russia (0.8% of homes).
As has been the case with previous VNI studies from Cisco, this one, which looks out four years, flashes some monstrous numbers when the anticipated global growth of the Internet if factored in.
Global IP traffic (fixed and mobile) will reach an annual run rate of 1.4 zettabytes – more than a trillion gigabytes per year – by 2017. Put another way, 1.4 zettabytes is more than the 1.2 zettabytes that traversed global Internet networks during all prior “Internet years” (1984-2012) combined.
On a monthly basis, Cisco sees global IP traffic hitting nearly 121 exabytes by 2017, up from 44 exabytes in 2012. To help visualize it, Cisco noted that 121 exabytes is equivalent to 30 billion DVDs.
And broadband networks will be required to carry an even heavier load of video. By 2017, global network users to generate 3 trillion Internet video minutes month, equal to about 6 million years of video.
And this just in: tablet usage is soaring. About 26% of Internet traffic originated from non-PC devices in 2012, but is set to rise to 49% by 2017, Cisco predicted. PC-originated traffic is expected to rise a 14% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), but that rate of growth will look like chicken feed when compared to tablets (104% CAGR), smartphones (79% CAGR), machine-to-machine modules (82% CAGR), and TVs (24% CAGR).
By device type, here's how average consumption stacked up in 2012:
And if that’s not enough to convince you that there’s something to this whole Internet thing, here are a few other bullet points from the study that have some cable industry implications:
- By 2017, there will be about 3.6 billion Internet users – more than 48% of the world’s projected population of 7.6 billion. That’s up from 2.3 billion Internet users in 2012.
- Content delivery networks will carry half of total Internet traffic by 2017.
- By 2017, 10 million Wi-Fi hotspots will be deployed, with 56% of global Internet traffic traversing some sort of Wi-Fi connection.
- Globally, there will be 8 billion IPv6-capable fixed and mobile devices/connections in 2017, up from just 1.6 billion in 2012.