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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Streaming Netflix accounts for up to 30 percent of online traffic

People watching videos on Netflix take up more bandwidth on the Internet than users of any other Web site or service in North America, according to a report by broadband analytics firm Sandvine. Netflix accounted for 20 percent of Internet traffic just six months ago.

Combined, Netflix, YouTube and other online video sites create about 46 percent of all Internet downloads during peak hours, according to Sandvine. That shift has threa cable and telecom companies, who are responding by changing their billing practices to charge Internet users for how much data they consume instead of offering flat-rate monthly fees.

Netflix is concerned about Internet providers charging customers based on amount of usage. In letters to shareholders and in filings to regulators in Canada and at the Federal Communications Commission, Netflix chief Reed Hastings warned that metered billing, or usage-based pricing, could present a risk to its business.

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