Netflix continues to use a lot of the US's bandwidth

Do you still use Netflix? You are not alone. Despite the streaming video service's problems in the past several months, the amount of bandwidth that can be tracked to users of the Netflix service continues to increase. A new study by Sandvine reports that Netflix user now accounts for "32.7 (percent) of peak downstream traffic." here in the US. That's an increase from 29.7 percent from the company's last broadbard study last May.

It shows that people like the convenience of Netflix' all-you-can-watch video streaming service, even if the management of the company continue to make dumb decisions like hike the price of its hybrid streaming-DVD mail order service. Perhaps more importantly, it makes the case for users to have access to Internet access that are not bound by broadband caps.

Many major Internet providers now either cut off Internet access to customers who go over their data caps or charge them extra from going over those limits. With customers using bandwidth intensive applications such as Netflix more and more, it becomes harder to justify those broadband limits.

Hopefully those ISPs will realize that in order to provide access to popular bandwidth heavy applications like Netflix, they need to relax their policies of overcharging their customers or even cutting off access altogether. Otherwise the next company who wants to provide a service that makes customers use lots of bandwidth won't even bother launching.

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31 Comments

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The only thing that's needed is competition with both ISP's and services, hopefully streaming TV on other services like Xbox will take off. Otherwise we will simply go back to the less greedy DVD/Blue-ray nonsense? I do not understand what people are trying to say here. This is the future, and there will be even grater need at some point. No business wants to give something for nothing, unless there is a profitable reason to do so. Overall what we need are regulators that understand how competition works, and how it is destroyed.

Netflix is still an awesome service, whatever the whiners and complainers say. I remember almost 2 years ago them saying they wanted to do away with the DVD rental service, and again about 9 months ago, than the price changes, and no one paid attention to their announcements til then. That is the consumers fault. You forget shipping costs money, and also losses.

Netflix is great, just for streaming, it may not have the selection you completely want, but hey it is there, it is a good service for entertainment, for a wonderful price. Good for you 'flix, keep pushin, eventually people will get with the times. ;-)

Zappa859 said,
Netflix is still an awesome service, whatever the whiners and complainers say. I remember almost 2 years ago them saying they wanted to do away with the DVD rental service, and again about 9 months ago, than the price changes, and no one paid attention to their announcements til then. That is the consumers fault. You forget shipping costs money, and also losses.

Netflix is great, just for streaming, it may not have the selection you completely want, but hey it is there, it is a good service for entertainment, for a wonderful price. Good for you 'flix, keep pushin, eventually people will get with the times. ;-)

Well said, people who complain are usually and no offense but people who do not know how to keep a budget like getting an iPhone or an Android while they also want some high home theater system. Now about bandwidth capping, I do find it a bit ridiculous because this slows down the idea of going forward in high speed internet technology I get we are going through hard times even the ISP but how fair is it when a person who already pays a lot and wants to watch a movie in a high quality? They need to find alternatives of fixing this problem rather than this idea so called capping. I would love to watch Netflix in full 1080p and 5.1 Surround sound if they would have it like Vudu but it seems since bandwidth is an issue we won't see this anytime soon. I would love to buy a Blu-ray movie really for the quality but the price of a blu-ray DVD is like $30 and up unlike a DVD which I am not shocked it is around since it is cheaper and than we got 3D Blu-ray now which still not everyone has it and not moved by the idea. So where I am getting at is there is no way to make a customer or the service provider who provides this great stuff to make everyone happy.

It's simple, build it and they'll come.

The backbones are only getting faster to carry more traffic. It's not that they can't support more traffic is that they can't find a valid reason to charge more. To put it simply, Netflix has 25 million customers that they provide a connection to. If they can afford the bandwidth and to pay people off $9/month from it's customers then ISPs should be more than able to for $40-100/month. Now i'm being a bit unfair since Netflix doesn't need to maintain poles and buy more CMTSs but bandwidth should never be an issue however.

There should be NO cap on broadband... I'm on comcast and I use 150 gigs on average a month and to be honest I should be using more and could very well use more but my 250g limit isn't justified and hurts innovation and the uses that I could do online. I'm considering going to a business account if it was cheaper to run a server from my house and not worry about a cap.

sava700 said,
There should be NO cap on broadband... I'm on comcast and I use 150 gigs on average a month and to be honest I should be using more and could very well use more but my 250g limit isn't justified and hurts innovation and the uses that I could do online. I'm considering going to a business account if it was cheaper to run a server from my house and not worry about a cap.

try my 30gb limit for 75$ in canada and see how mad you get!

I really think caps break innovation.

it might be 32.7% of the traffic but that doesn't mean it's using 32.7% of what the internet is capable of.

i don't think the world should be worried about netflix slowing down the internet and ruining it for everyone.

tomasarson said,
it might be 32.7% of the traffic but that doesn't mean it's using 32.7% of what the internet is capable of.

i don't think the world should be worried about netflix slowing down the internet and ruining it for everyone.

They're not, they're worried about the fact that it's slowing down other customers using the same ISPs.

How does the USA's internet network actually compare with eg the UK ? I see some people with good connections but I never hear of any good mainstream providers. All I hear is how bad comcast is, in the UK our best network is Virgin media which offers up to 100mb and it's unlimited. The other two are BT and Sky which aren't so great but they are quickly catching up.

You have to realize the U.S. is a large country. Some areas where it's most populated will probably have good service. Other urban cities, away from metropolitan areas... the ISPs don't care about their money much because there's not a lot of money to be made there so that means mediocre to sucky service to some areas.

Luckily I live in a big city so I have nearly 50mbps for around 55 pounds a month which is not bad considering there's no better residential service in the U.S. right now than Verizon FIOS.

I love netflix, I love the old TV shows and 80s movies, and I used 28 GB of it on my Verizon 3g OG Droid 1 last month and I will keep using that way until they pry the unlimited from my cold dead fingers....

Saying this again.
We pay money to an Internet SERVICE Provider.
Not an Internet BANDWIDTH Provider.
As internet consumers, we should only be paying for the access and connection.
We should not be metered or throttled or charged extra because of bandwidth.
Technology changes all the time and bandwidth demands increase all the time.
If the Internet Service Provider can't support the bandwidth, then they should upgrade to handle it.

netsendjoe said,
Saying this again.
We pay money to an Internet SERVICE Provider.
Not an Internet BANDWIDTH Provider.
As internet consumers, we should only be paying for the access and connection.
We should not be metered or throttled or charged extra because of bandwidth.
Technology changes all the time and bandwidth demands increase all the time.
If the Internet Service Provider can't support the bandwidth, then they should upgrade to handle it.

Sounds fair enough.
If the customer wants the equivalent of a DS3 connection, the customer should pay for it. They're only a few thousand dollars a month.

Maybe the reason for throttling / caps is more apparent to you now?
Probably not.

Edited by abecedarian paradoxious, Oct 29 2011, 4:33am :

Regression_88 said,

Sounds fair enough.
If the customer wants the equivalent of a DS3 connection, the customer should pay for it. They're only a few thousand dollars a month.

Maybe the reason for throttling / caps is more apparent to you now?
Probably not.

Ultimately, the costs to upgrade and maintain their network have to be passed down the customers. The use of caps etc. just distributes the cost of this to customers depending on how much network capacity they are using.

Tekkerson said,
Doubt it's as much as youtube... considering youtube is free.

Youtube videos are 5 minutes long and low quality.

Non-Active-Account said,

If you have a large family it is.

There's 4 people using our 60GB cap. Last year we had a 20GB cap. The year before 6GB.
250GB is heaps (until we can get that much where I live, then I'll want more )

Wolfbane said,
There's 4 people using our 60GB cap. Last year we had a 20GB cap. The year before 6GB.
250GB is heaps (until we can get that much where I live, then I'll want more )
When you like to watch alot of movies then 250GB is not enough. Let's just say that a movie is 2GB for HD video. Lets just say a movie watcher most likely watches 2 movies a day which equals to about 60GB a month. That is 1 person. Let's say you have 4 people in the house watching movies and shows all day long. that will go way over the 250GB limit cap. This is not including webcaming with friends and family or just youtubing it and surfing or checking email or using your other devices to connect.. Netflix is not the only game in town, there is also Blockbuster, Vudu and other video streeming services like Hulu.

Netflix should be outlawed. What people don't understand is that the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a big truck, it's a series of tubes. Those tubes can be filled, and when they're filled, the internet is going to be delayed.

Enron said,
Netflix should be outlawed. What people don't understand is that the internet is not something you just dump something on. It's not a big truck, it's a series of tubes. Those tubes can be filled, and when they're filled, the internet is going to be delayed.

Hilarious Dubya reference?

"Otherwise the next company who wants to provide a service that makes customers use lots of bandwidth won't even bother launching."

ISP's don't care about that. They care about profit, and charging $2 per gigabyte over the limit is a good way to make money.

OuchOfDeath said,
"Otherwise the next company who wants to provide a service that makes customers use lots of bandwidth won't even bother launching."

ISP's don't care about that. They care about profit, and charging $2 per gigabyte over the limit is a good way to make money.

lol @ 2$/gb. seems cheap compared to the 7$ I have to pay!!!

(Québec, Canada)

OuchOfDeath said,
"Otherwise the next company who wants to provide a service that makes customers use lots of bandwidth won't even bother launching."

ISP's don't care about that. They care about profit, and charging $2 per gigabyte over the limit is a good way to make money.

I get 400gb with my plan, so about 0.125 dollars per GB here on a 50mbit connection