Practical Technology

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Netflix: Bigger than cable. Too big for the Internet?

According to the DVD and online video rental king Netflix’s last quarterly report, Netflix now has more subscribers than Comcast, the largest cable U.S. TV operator. 7% of all U.S. citizens now subscribe to Netflix. That’s great for Netflix but what about the Internet, on which it increasingly relies for its video transport?

Back in October, Netflix, and other video content were already taking up more bandwidth than any other single Internet service Gaming, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file sharing, and Web surfing were all falling behind. It’s only gotten worse since then. When I recently looked at how much traffic IPv6 was transporting on the Internet, I found that Netflix, all by itself, was taking up 20%–the largest single share-of all Internet traffic.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but is there enough bandwidth on the Internet to support this if this video trend continues? I doubt it.

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