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Video services chug half of US net capacity

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Video services Netflix and YouTube consume nearly half of US internet capacity at peak times, demonstrating the massive scale of Amazon and Google's infrastructure clouds, but causing us to ask 'whither Microsoft?'

As of the first half of 2013, Netflix accounted for almost a third (32.5 per cent) of downstream traffic on US fixed line networks, followed closely by YouTube (17.11 per cent), according to the latest Sandvine Networks Internet Phenomena Report. Median monthly consumption jumped 56.5 per cent compared with the previous report, to 18.2GB per month.

BitTorrent's share as a proportion of traffic continues to fall, with the pirated content file sharing* technology accounting for a mere 5.57 per cent of downstream traffic.

The situation was drastically different in Europe, where Netflix didn't appear in the top ten for downstream**, BitTorrent represented 12.22 per cent of download traffic, and the largest aggregate service by share was HTTP, with YouTube coming in second place at 21.27 per cent aggregate.

Sandvine's data highlights the growing importance that streaming media has to the internet, along with the continued decline in file sharing.

"In Europe, countries with lower Real-Time Entertainment share typically have higher Filesharing traffic, which leads us to believe that subscribers are likely using applications like BitTorrent to procure audio and video content not available in their region," Sandvine wrote.

"We believe that Filesharing's share of traffic may have finally reached its peak in terms of traffic share and will begin to experience a steady and significant decline, as paid OTT video services continue to expand their availability throughout the region."

It was only two years ago that Netflix passed BitTorrent in America (24.71 peak time aggregate traffic versus BitTorrent's 17.23 per cent) and since then YouTube has grown into a substantial traffic-chugger as well.

To support the growth of its video service, Netflix has even been forced to design its own Open Connect hardware to serve vids out from the edge, and we imagine Google has had to do the same.

Sandvine's data reflects the increasingly important role that mega-infrastructure providers have in providing services used by general internet consumers. Amazon Web Services, for instance, supports the vast Netflix service, and YouTube is run on top of Google infrastructure.

No Microsoft or Rackspace cloud property was present in either the European or US traffic rankings, demonstrating that though these clouds may be pulling in customers, they are yet to support a genuinely large service like Netflix or YouTube. Microsoft is hoping to change this through the Azure Media Services component of its cloud, but as of yet no vast Azure-powered media service has emerged – at least, according to Sandvine. ®

*Bootnote:

* It's not just for sharing Ubuntu distros and scientific imagery, you know.

** This could be due to the somewhat anemic selection European ​Netflix users are met with, compared with the heaving platter of video treats for US media gluttons.

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