Stream Time: YouTube, Hulu Double Viewer Traffic

hulu/30 Rock

A new research study has noted a new trend: less TV and media downloading and more real-time Internet use.

Sandvine, the Ontario, Canada-based broadband network company, says real-time entertainment -- from the likes of YouTube and Hulu.com -- has almost doubled its share of total Internet traffic to 26.6% in 2009, from 12.6% in 2008.

Overall, the study says almost two-thirds of all Internet traffic is now consumed as it arrives.

At the same time, the study says peer-to-peer file-sharing declined by 25% as a share of total traffic, having dropped to 20.4% of total traffic. It also says storage and back-up services continue to grow as an alternative to peer-to-peer services.

TV's prime time is when real-time entertainment and Web browsing are at their highest levels, with both getting huge per-subscriber increases in bandwidth demand -- rising by almost 35% and 26%, respectively, over other dayparts.

Internet consumption research has had online providers such as Comcast Corp. and others concerned, with some proposing that heavy users of the Internet who upload and download massive files should pay per consumption of broadband used.

In this vein, the Sandvine study says that in an average month, the top 1% of subscribers account for 25% of total Internet traffic. In the upstream direction, it adds that the top 1% of subscribers account for 40% of total traffic. A typical heavy user can be responsible for more than 200 times the total bytes of an average subscriber.

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