American consumers are now using their home broadband connection for more than just browsing the internet, e-commerce and social networking. More than 70 percent of all fixed-access broadband usage during peak evening hours is credited to streaming audio and video, according to Sandvine’s 2016 Global Internet Phenomena Report. Just five years ago, broadband usage for this category was at 35 percent.
It’s not surprising that broadband bandwidth usage is on the rise – as long as a TV is able to connect to the internet, consumers have access to a vast library of streaming entertainment. Netflix and YouTube are among the most widely used downstream applications. Netflix accounts for 35.2 percent of traffic on North American fixed networks, YouTube uses approximately 17 percent of fixed broadband, and Amazon accounts for 4.3 percent of fixed traffic.
Pay-TV service providers are reporting cable customers are making the switch from basic cable services to streaming subscriptions such as AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Dish Network’s Sling. Verizon also is seeking to produce original content for a possible new streaming application product launch.
The latest offering? Live streaming. Sling first attempted to launch a live TV service in 2015, but encountered some challenges when it crashed during high-volume periods like March Madness and Monday Night Football. DirecTV Now seems to be having more success with live streaming, and Hulu’s live TV is in its beta testing phase.
Known as real-time entertainment, streaming video and audio demand enormous amounts of broadband bandwidth which can strain a home’s internet speed as it supports WiFi and smart home devices. That’s why USTelecom member companies and other ISPs are prioritizing broadband infrastructure build out to meet consumer demand for more bandwidth and faster internet speeds.