Tag Archives | Broadband

Netflix Now the Biggest Bandwidth Hog in US

Just how big is Netflix right now? Pretty darn big, if you believe the results of a study by “intelligent broadband” solutions provider Sandvine. During peak times, its streaming service accounts for a staggering 29.7 percent of all downstream Internet traffic, Sandvine says.

By itself, Netflix exceeds traffic for P2P file sharing, Web browsing, and real-time communications. By specific source, it far outpaces BitTorrent (at 11 percent) and YouTube (10 percent). Guess Comcast was throttling the wrong technology, eh?

Put that in perspective — that means one out of every four packets headed to an Internet user’s computer is delivering Netflix content, a pretty stunning ratio. It also is the biggest contributor to all real-time entertainment traffic, which is about half of all downstream data being delivered.

Could Netflix be ready to become the iTunes of streaming? I think so–and it may be all the more reason why Apple may want to throw its own hat into the ring.

With ISPs moving lately towards bandwidth caps, I wonder how much longer this growth in traffic from Netflix will be allowed to last. Executives were up in arms a few years back about how BitTorrent was clogging their pipes, but now it seems as if legal content is what’s now the biggest threat to bandwidth. Ain’t that ironic?


PC Annoyances–and Fixes

PCs are annoying. They do unexpected things and act like little children. I know, because my computer’s always troubled — and from the e-mail I get, so’s yours.

This week: Solutions for some of the computing troubles and annoyances you’ve asked me to fix.

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The Internet Costs More Today, Thanks to AT&T

So long cheap Internet, we hardly knew ya: AT&T’s broadband data caps go into effect today, reigning in data gobblers and dashing the dreams of high volume file-sharing freebooters. Ahoy, thar be usage checks ahead.

Actually “data caps” isn’t accurate. They’re not caps at all. They don’t cork up your DSL or fiber line when you hit your plan’s magic number. Say you do–AT&T just dings you with an extra service fee. AT&T U-Verse customers ride free until they hit 250GB a month, while AT&T DSL customers top out at 150GB. Go over those marks, and you’ll now pay $10 a month more, plus $10 again every 50GB thereafter.

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This Old House: Fiber Arrives

If you recall, we recently picked up a new (old) house and our plate is full of projects – including some relevant to a digital media blog. So, on with the story…

I’ve continued to make progress removing and recycling speaker and aerial antenna wire as I encounter it. There’s no way I’ll extricate it all, and fortunately I’m not quite OCD enough to have to. But it’s no longer an eyesore in various built-ins and closets.

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One Gigabit Internet Coming To Chattanooga

When you’re thinking of ultra-high speed Internet and its expected rollout across the country, I’m sure the last place you’d probably name is Chattanooga, Tennessee. However if all goes right, the mid-sized southern city will likely be the first in the country to break the one gigabit speed barrier here in the US.

City-owned power utility EPB said Monday that it would be able to deliver the ultra-fast speeds by the end of the year. The company had originally announced in June that it would deliver speeds of 150 megabits per second over its 100% fiber-optic network, but apparently the company’s decided to go all out.

Ready to sign up? Better have a big pocketbook. The gigabit service will set you back $350 per month — making it prohibitively expensive to all but mid and large sized businesses and the wealthy. But even its own executives have admitted they really don’t know how to price the offering — so I don’t think it would be all that unreasonable to expect the price to come down fairly soon.

It will also have a little more guidance later this year after Google makes its expected announcement on where it would build its own ultra-high speed network offering similar speeds. The company pledged to cover 500,000 people in the US with fiber-optic Internet earlier in the year. 1,100 communities applied as a result.

So you may ask, “why are they doing it if it’s so darn expensive?” From EPB CEO Harold DePriest comes the best answer I’ve heard from a executive in quite awhile: “Because we can.”


Broadband Adoption Slows as Market Saturates

Broadband adoption has begun to slow in the US, with 66 percent of all adults now subscribing to broadband at home. That was the finding of the Pew Internet & American Life project, who said the 3 percent year-over-year increase was the smallest since 2005.

This compares to a 8 percent increase in both 2007 to 2008 and 2008 to 2009. The slowdown may have something to do with the economy, however it probably also means that the market is beginning to saturate, and those that want or need broadband are already subscribed to it.

Another key fact in the study is that overall, US adults believe that the expansion of broadband should not be a priority, with 52 percent responding that way. Interestingly enough, seniors are the most against it with only 21 percent saying it should be a priority and 64 percent against, and respondents aged 18-29 the most supportive with a 48-46 split.

The only demographic group to show a major uptick in broadband usage were African Americans, who saw 22 percent year-over-year growth. The so called digital divide is also narrowing: it is down to an 11-point gap from 19 points the year previous according to the study.

The full report’s PDF can be found here.


Google and Verizon's Network Neutrality Negotiation

The rumored deal between Google and Verizon over Network Neutrality issues isn’t a deal–it’s a joint proposal to the FCC. It recommends rules that would prohibit the favoring of certain traffic over other traffic on the wired Internet. But Dan Gillmor, who knows way more about this stuff than I do, isn’t thrilled with the companies’ suggestions. And the proposal is pro-Network Neutrality only for wired traffic, not wireless data. Isn’t that a little bit as if it had advised for consumer-friendly regulations for dial-up–but not for broadband–in, say, 2000?


Broadband Becomes a Legal Right in Finland

Finland put into effect on Thursday a new law that mandates telecommunications companies make available Internet access of 1 MBps or higher available to all permanent residences and businesses. The move is the first step in making 100 MBps or faster access available to every Finn by 2015, the government said.

The “universal service obligation” would be handled by about 26 different nationwide providers who would offer service around the country. It should not be too difficult: Finland is one of the world’s most wired countries, but only about 26 percent have a broadband connection–about the same as the United States.

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