Netflix and BitTorrents Account for Most Internet Traffic, Study Finds

Netflix accounts for a third of all download Internet traffic in North America during peak hours, according to data published by Canadian broadband management company Sandvine.

The figures come as Netflix announced it lost more than 800,000 subscribers last quarter. Despite the loss, the data marks a nearly 10 percent increase in Internet traffic for the streaming movie company, according to reports.

The increase could be a result of wider access to the service. Netflix is more readily available on televisions, tablets and mobile devices, the report suggests.

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"It's hard to envision a scenario in which absolute levels of Netflix will decline," Sandvine said in the report.

Despite the dominance of the download market, the company announced 15 layoffs after losing subscribers in the third quarter, Bloomberg reports.

Netflix accounts for nearly three times the daily downstream volume of YouTube, according to the Sandvine report. BitTorrents still dominate the upstream market, accounting for nearly 50 percent of all traffic.

More than half the peak Internet traffic in North America comes from devices other than computers, Sandvine reports. Traffic from game consoles, smart TVs and tablets is on the rise.

It’s a trend that could shake up how content is delivered to homes.

"The fact that more video traffic is going to devices other than a PC should be a wake-up call that counting bytes is no longer sufficient for network planning," said Dave Caputo, CEO of Sandvine.

While Netflix may dominate traffic to devices in the home, YouTube and Facebook are big players in the mobile browsing world.

Facebook accounts for almost 20 percent of peak mobile Internet traffic while YouTube accounts to slightly more than 18 percent, according to the report.

Peak hours for all Internet usage are between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., Sandvine said.

Facebook makes up roughly a third of all peak mobile upload traffic, according to the report. This is largely due to the high number of photographs uploaded to the site from mobile devices.

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