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Streaming dominates Internet traffic in North America: report

Ethical hackers say government regulations put information at risk
. Nico De Pasquale Photography/Flickr

TORONTO – Streaming has taken over the Internet and now accounts for more than 70 per cent of North American downloads at peak times, up from less than 35 per cent in 2010, according a report from broadband services company Sandvine.

Netflix makes up a huge part of Internet downloads, the company said, with the streaming service accounting for 37.1 per cent of all downstream traffic in North America during September and October.

Youtube accounted for the second-largest share of download traffic, at 17.9 per cent, followed by regular Internet browsing at 6.1 per cent.

As streaming sites have risen in popularity, the BitTorrent file-sharing service – which some blame for the proliferation of pirated content online – has declined in its share of overall Internet traffic.

READ MORE: Canadians who illegally download movies may be risking more than previously thought

BitTorrent still accounts for more than a quarter of upload traffic, which is substantially lower than download traffic, in part because of the its peer-to-peer design that sees users share parts of files with each other.

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Yet the file-sharing service now accounts for less than five per cent of total Internet traffic, down from 31 per cent in 2008.

Despite data caps and small screens, audio and video streaming is also the biggest slice of mobile Internet traffic, accounting for 36.98 per cent of overall traffic at peak times.

YouTube was the biggest contributor to mobile downloads, followed by Facebook and web browsing.

Sandvine provides traffic management services to more than 250 Internet providers around the world, and regularly compiles the traffic data from its customers into reports.

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