Netflix: I'm the King of the World

It's official: Netflix is now king of the internet, eclipsing all other forms of net traffic, bringing an abrupt end to the nation's use of other video streaming operations, web browsing, email, and naughty bits.

Oh all right, that's an exaggeration. But not by much. a recent study by Sandvine, a network analytics firm, reveals that Netflix is indeed the biggest bandwidth consumer on the net.

"In North America," Sandvine reports, "Netflix is now 29.7% of peak downstream traffic and has become the largest source of Internet traffic overall."

Throw in other streaming operations and the numbers get even more mind-boggling: "Currently, Real-Time Entertainment applications consume 49.2% of peak aggregate traffic, up from 29.5% in 2009—a 60% increase. Sandvine forecasts that the Real-Time Entertainment category will represent 55-60% of peak aggregate traffic by the end of 2011."

The latest numbers put Netflix ahead of BitTorrent, offering a striking victory of legal (and attractively priced) streaming over illegal downloading.

See Engadget for one-stop shopping, included both Sandvine's embedded press release and embedded video. Or jump directly to press release.

The news is not unexpected, coming on the heels of a report last fall that Netflix then accounted for 20 percent of all U.S. peak downstream net traffic. ISPs have been voicing concern ever since, asserting that bandwidth metering and data caps are the only way to keep them from getting swamped. Ars Technica presents both sides of the issue.

Netflix may be king of the world, but uneasy is the head that wears the crown.