Monday, June 20, 2016

Online Video Is Driving Internet Traffic Growth

On June 6, 2016, Cisco released its annual Visual Network Index (VNI): Forecast and Methodology, 2015-2020. Consistent with Cisco’s latest Mobile Data Traffic Update, which I highlighted in a February 2016 blog, this new index projects the global growth of Internet traffic and devices on all broadband technologies as opposed to just mobile.
Here are some of the key findings:
  • Global Internet traffic will increase nearly threefold over the next five years and will have increased nearly 100-fold from 2005 to 2020.
  • Smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic by 2020. In 2015, PCs accounted for 53 percent of total Internet traffic, but by 2020 PCs will account for only 29 percent of traffic. Smartphones will account for 30 percent of total Internet traffic in 2020, up from 8 percent in 2015.
  • Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will comprise two-thirds of total Internet traffic by 2020.
  • Global Internet traffic in 2020 will be equivalent to 95 times the volume of the entire global Internet in 2005.
  • The number of devices connected to broadband networks will be three times as high as the global population in 2020. There will be 3.4 networked devices per capita by 2020, up from 2.2 networked devices per capita in 2015

The proliferation of video applications is by far the biggest driving force behind the increases in Internet traffic over the past several years and will continue to be for the next five years as connections increase and networks expand. On a global level, video traffic is projected to comprise 79 percent of Internet traffic in 2020. This is an increase of 16 percentage points from 2015 (63 percent).
While the United States certainly has been a leader in the amount of growth in connections and traffic, Cisco projects the rest of the world will have tremendous growth over the next five years. For the U.S. to continue to lead with respect to broadband deployment and innovation in broadband technologies, it is important that the FCC and state and local agencies remove unnecessary and burdensome regulatory barriers that stifle investment and innovation in broadband networks. Additionally, for continued growth in mobile broadband innovation, the FCC needs to allocate more licensed and unlicensed spectrum to meet the increasing consumer demand for advanced services and devices.