Internet TV: More Bandwidth, Please

N. American Internet Users Trebled Amount of Monthly Data Consumption: Sandvine

Online video streams are turning into raging rivers.

Fueled by Netflix and other real-time streaming media, North American Internet users nearly tripled the amount of monthly data they consume over wireline networks in the last year, according to a report by bandwidth-management equipment vendor Sandvine.

The median average monthly data usage of fixed-line broadband subscribers in the region increased by 190% from the second half of 2011 to the same period this year, from 5.8 Gigabytes to 16.8 GB. The data was aggregated from a subset of Sandvine’s cable and telco operator customers.

Overall, real-time entertainment traffic is responsible for 65% of downstream data consumption of North American wireline networks, and Sandvine expects usage in this category to continue to climb.

Netflix’s over-the-top video service continues to chew up a dominant chunk of broadband usage, accounting for 33% of downstream traffic during peak periods (9 p.m. to midnight). That’s consistent with usage levels Sandvine measured in the second half of 2011 and the first half of this year.

Other video services are relatively tiny, with Amazon accounting for 1.8% of peak-period downstream traffic in North America, followed by Hulu at 1.4% and HBO Go at 0.5%.