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OPLIN 4cast #468: What are we doing with the Internet?

Posted in 4cast

lit fiberLast week, the Sandvine company released its latest Global Internet Phenomena Report (see first link below) and created a bit of interest in the tech media, because it reported that video and audio traffic on the Internet in North America now constitute 70% of all Internet usage. If it seems like a lot of your library patrons are watching videos on your Internet computers, you’re probably right. But beyond this headline grabbing statistic, the report contains interesting information about Internet usage trends outside North America, in Africa and the Middle East, where some things can be very different, while other things can be very similar.

  • Global Internet Phenomena Report: Africa, Middle East & North America (Sandvine Internet Phenomena blog | Dan Deeth)  “Real-Time Entertainment (streaming video and audio) traffic now accounts for over 70% of North American downstream traffic in the peak evening hours on fixed access networks. Five years ago it accounted for less than 35%. Netflix (37.1%), YouTube (17.9%), and Amazon Video (3.1%), the top three sources of video traffic on fixed access networks in North America, all saw an increase in traffic share over the levels observed earlier in the year.”
  • We’re just using Netflix’s Internet (ZDNet | Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols)  “True, with the growth of streaming video, BitTorrent downstream traffic share declined in fixed access bandwidth share to a mere 5 percent of total traffic in North America. But, upstream traffic is still dominated by file torrents. Torrent upstream traffic now makes up 29 percent of all US Internet traffic in North America during peak hours.”
  • Streaming video now accounts for 70 percent of broadband usage (Re/code | Peter Kafka)  “What’s that? You’ve heard that mobile is the future of the Internet and you’d like to see what’s going on there, too? Same story, but different: Video and audio — primarily YouTube — dominate mobile usage, too. But social — basically Facebook and Snapchat — are also big. Video/audio accounts for 41 percent of mobile traffic, and social eats up 22 percent.”
  • WhatsApp is how Facebook will dominate the world (Wired | Cade Metz)  “In a larger sense, this shows that the Internet is evolving differently in the developing world than it has here in the US. Because network and phone technologies aren’t as mature—and because people have less money to spend on tech—low-bandwidth messaging apps like WhatsApp have become a primary gateway onto the Internet as whole. In Africa, web browsing accounts for 22 percent of mobile traffic, about twice as much as WhatsApp. But no other individual service is even close to WhatsApp’s numbers. Not YouTube. Not BitTorrent. Not Facebook.”

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