Netflix Accounts For More Web Traffic Than Torrenting

Melanie Gross
May 20, 2011
Updated • Dec 2, 2012

Recent stats from the Sandvines Global internet Phenomenon report show that Netflix accounts for more web traffic in North America than bit torrents. While this is a good thing for Hollywood, it might backfire due to the ISPS recent trend to cap bandwidth in order to stop piracy.

The report shows that Netflix accounts for 29.7% of traffic in the US at peak times, and 22% throughout the whole day. Torrenting topped out at 21%, and this time the number is even down from what it was last fall. The report shows Netflix and streaming of audio and video in general to have increased 445 within the last year or so. People are starting to consume their media online instead of watching it on TV.

Hollywood should approve of this. These numbers mean that people are beginning to stream their videos instead of torrenting. Because, of course, we all know that the only reason for bit torrent’s existence is piracy, right? Well, not quite, but that’s what Holly wood as a whole seems to believe. The fact that Netflix is getting bigger and torrenting has taken even a slight downturn should be thrilling.

The numbers show a trend toward more online streaming. This gives ISPs an idea of what they have to look forward to in the future. People are going to want more and more bandwidth as the way they consume entertainment changes.
The problem with this whole thing is that ISPs, mostly due to the few people who do torrent on a regular basis, have begun putting in caps. In the states, even the major ISPS who arguably have lots of bandwidth to spare are debating putting in caps anywhere from 150-250 GB.

Even in Canada, where Netflix has been hugely successful since it arrived in September, some of the major DSL ISPs are debating bandwidth caps of 25 GB. If you’re streaming video, you could go through that in a day. Netflix has already had to lower the quality of its streaming in Canada to deal with the bandwidth caps. Canadian ISPs say that the current infrastructure just isn’t meant to handle the amount of internet traffic people are asking for, and that problem is only going to get worse.

Netflix is becoming a major source of internet traffic in the US and in Canada, at least. The big movie companies are thrilled with this, because it means that their seven year battle to get movies off of the torrent sites might actually be showing results. But, partially as a reaction to that battle, ISPs are now putting in caps to control how much bandwidth one user can get. I’m thinking this isn’t quite the outcome the Hollywood companies expected ...

What are your thoughts? Do you have bandwidth caps in place that make it difficult to do everything online that you would like? Do you watch a lot of online media? How much bandwidth do you think you use every month? What do you think would be a good solution for Netflix and the ISPs?


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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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