Video streaming dominates downstream traffic while business services generate the most upstream traffic in rural areas.
That's just one finding of the first-ever Calix U.S. Rural Broadband Report, which provides new insight into Internet application and usage patterns among rural Americans. Data was drawn from actual Internet traffic monitored in U.S. service provider networks from the fourth quarter of 2011. It's based on analysis of data aggregated from 45 U.S. communications service providers.
As service providers prepare for an all-video world, it is not surprising to see video streaming was the dominant broadband-enabled application among eight categories. It accounted for 67 percent of downstream Internet traffic and 13 percent of upstream traffic in the studied networks. Large-content distribution networks such as Level 3, Limelight, and Akamai — which carry video content from sites like Netflix and YouTube — accounted for 80 percent of all streamed video traffic.
In terms of upstream traffic, business services generated the most, accounting for 53 percent of all upstream traffic.
In addition, service providers that offer Internet services exclusively over fiber access networks saw subscribers generate over 2.67 times more traffic than service providers that offered Internet services over copper-based networks.
The top 5 percent of subscribers in rural U.S. networks studied used more than 100 GB of downstream traffic a month, and accounted for approximately 50 percent of Internet traffic.
Application use varied across different regions of the U.S. in Q4.
The West streamed video more heavily than other regions, the Southeast played the most online video games, the Northeast shopped online more heavily than other regions, and the Midwest used business-oriented services in the home most frequently.
"As was expected, video streaming emerged as the biggest contributor to broadband Internet traffic across our customers' networks, a trend that we expect will continue to grow in future quarters," said Miguel Alonso, Calix vice president of software products.