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The Internet belongs to Netflix

If I were to ask most people what single kind of program they thought used up the most Internet bandwidth, most of them would say, “Web browsing.” Wrong. According to research by Sandvine, a broadband solution provider and analysis firm, the Web takes up only 24.3%. Someone who pays attention to the net might guess peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing such as BitTorrent. Nope. P2P has actually declined in recent years. In 2010, it only takes up 13.2%. The winner, by a wide margin, is Real-Time Entertainment, aka video and music-streaming, which accounts for 45.7% of data. Number one with a bullet in this category is Netflix.

Netflix!? Yes, Netflix. To be exact, according to Sandvine, “20.6% of all peak period bytes downloaded on fixed access networks in North America are Netflix.” That’s one in five bytes devoted to streaming Star Trek or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Who knew?

You may think of Netflix as that mail-order DVD business, but the company’s growth as an Internet video-on-demand (VoD) service has been explosive. Now, if only the Internet can keep up with the demand.

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