Netflix effect or not, the Internet Activity Survey (IAS) results revealed by The Australian Bureau of Statistics on April 6, clearly mark the world's, and not just the Australians, growing reliance on Internet data, as reflected in the 1.71 million terabytes of downloaded content between October and December 2015.
That's a far cry from the days of dial-up Internet, which was a prominent feature in all Aussie households a decade ago. The need for a great data plan with superfast connectivity has now become the lifeblood of people globally. The Australian numbers may only serve as the mirror for the global requirement in the coming years that hints at an improved broadband infrastructure.
The whopping figure of 1.71 million terabytes, as represented by the Bureau, shows a 23.5 percent jump from the three months of April to June of the same year, and a 50 percent increase from the last three months of 2014 – from 52,745 terabytes in 2014 to 90,693 terabytes in 2015. This increasing thirst for easily available downloadable content is obviously fuelled by providers like Netflix. After its launch in March 2015, Internet service providers like iiNet were already struggling to meet the stupendous rise in demand.
Most families in Australia now have their devices – laptops, desktops, smartphones, smart TVs – all connected to the Internet, as each family member spends hours after work usually surfing the net or watching Netflix on individual devices. Currently, Netflix reportedly has 2.7 million subscribers, with Stan coming a not-so-close second with its 700,000 members.
Telstra is yet another contributing factor to the overwhelming spike in data download, with their free data days, which just goes to show the country's downloading skills when given a chance. One such free-data Sunday showed that a single user managed to get through 1 terabyte of data. In other words, that's 10 seasons of Friends, 24 seasons of The Simpsons, six seasons of Game of Thrones, Xbox games, and Microsoft packages, which still leaves many more gigabytes of downloadable space. So when multiplied by 1.71 million, that's something to wrap your brain around with.
Tony Cross, the chief architect of the National Broadband Network (NBN), says he, however, doesn't find anything "atypical" about the revealed statistics, as "occasionally we get something such as the Netflix effect which causes a bump in average download use, but once you smooth those bumps out, we expect that kind of growth rate – 30 to 40 per – to continue for many years to come."
Photo: Stiftelsen Elektronikkbransjen | Flickr