Power users driving broadband bandwidth demand

As the world’s ravenous appetite for online data continues to grow, Internet-generated broadband traffic will increase approximately 50 percent year-over-year on fixed networks and double on mobile networks.

According to new a research from IDC, both fixed and mobile traffic volumes are driven by power users that are gorging themselves on a disproportionate amount of bandwidth.

IDC forecasts that end-user demand for worldwide wireline and mobile broadband traffic will increase from 9,665 petabytes per month in 2010 to a jaw-dropping 116,539 petabytes per month in 2015.

Web browsing, peer-to-peer file sharing, audio/video streaming, and a host of other applications are all driving bandwidth consumption.

“The enormous growth in end-user demand for both fixed and mobile broadband services is staggering,” said Matt Davis, director of consumer and SMB telecom services at IDC.

“Despite enormous growth projected in IDC’s forecast, it is difficult to overestimate this phenomenon. Fixed and mobile operators will have to deal with a new reality that will tax network resources to the limit — and perhaps past the limit.”

Bandwidth usage strongly correlates with the availability of faster broadband speeds. This trend can be seen when comparing networks within countries and more widely from region to region.

“This tells us that capacity and usage are interwoven, and that increasing capacity will ultimately lead to the adoption of new services and greater use. The relationship between availability and usage is important when considering the question of how much bandwidth is enough,” IDC said.

Additional findings from IDC’s bandwidth research include the following:

• HD video content will drive a new level of bandwidth demand, with more than 50 percent of video and audio streaming destined for a connected TV (either directly or indirectly), an iPad, or another mobile device or tablet.

• In North America, the ratio between upstream and downstream traffic continues to be strongly represented by downstream traffic, typically at a 10:1 ratio in favor of downstream, but sometimes much more.

• While Web browsing represents a declining share of traffic across the globe, despite more mobile Internet-enabled devices, there is a more pronounced decline in Europe and Asia-Pacific. Service providers need to deliver more bandwidth, as this growth is necessary to spur new service usage and drive new subscriptions and revenue.

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