The growing popularity of video streaming services has led to a surge in internet traffic in recent years.
According to Sandvine's latest Global Internet Phenomena Report, Netflix and YouTube account for almost half of North American downstream traffic during peak hours.
Netflix in particular is putting a serious strain on broadband networks, as many of the company's million subscribers tend to watch simultaneously during peak hours in the evening and on weekends. The service's extraordinary traffic demands have even led to a dispute between Netflix and internet service providers in the U.S., as both sides blamed each other for performance issues due to network congestion. Over the course of 2014, Netflix reluctantly agreed on deals with various ISPs that grant the company a more direct connection to broadband networks, thereby bypassing bottlenecks at the edges of the respective networks.
The conflict is only part of an ongoing debate about the principle of net neutrality and the question who should pay for the additional infrastructure needed to meet the ever-growing bandwidth demands of today's consumers.
This chart breaks down North American internet traffic during peak hours by application.
You will find more statistics at Statista