Coda. Actually, to be precise, they're claiming that mobile broadband users accessing the net via laptops and netbooks will consume 1.8 exabytes of video. Per month.One exabyte is a billion gigabytes. It's one quintillion bytes. And yes, "quintillion" is a number so large, it almost seems made-up. But that's how much online video will be consumed by 2017, according to new reports from U.K.-based research firm
Mobile Broadband Video Forecast
In the company's latest report (sample) "Mobile Broadband Traffic Across Regions 2009-2017," they've determined that this increase will account for nearly three quarters of all global traffic via mobile broadband portables. The top region for video consumption will be Asia Pacific which will account for over half (53%) of the traffic. That will be followed by Europe (26%) and then North America (14%).
The reason why Asia Pacific comes in so high is because, in many countries, mobile broadband is often the sole option for internet connectivity. Another forecast states that two-thirds of the global traffic will be via LTE (Long Term Evolution), a 4G wireless technology, where Asia Pacific will consume just under half (45%) of LTE traffic. In Europe, 80% of traffic will be LTE-based and in North America, 75%.
It Will Get Worse Before it Gets Better
According to Steve Smith, founder of Coda Research Consultancy, "the sheer amount of traffic people will consume worldwide will put pressure on operator revenues and network capacity, necessitating radical efficiency drives." He also notes that, in the short term, end user frustration with bandwidth and speed will increase. To illustrate this point, he mentions that today as many as three-quarters of Europeans are dissatisfied with the speeds they currently receive. That's an interesting comment, especially considering all the grumbling we hear about AT&T in the U.S. and their general failure to deliver on the promise of high-speed internet for iPhone users. (In many urban areas, they can't even consistently deliver a signal!) Although this report didn't focus specifically on smartphones, it's somewhat comforting to know that overseas users are experiencing the same struggles as we do here in the U.S.
However, once mobile broadband operators complete their build-outs and upgrades to this high-speed data network of the future, the resulting impact it will have on the internet as a whole will be mind-blowing. One could even argue that bandwidth speeds have accounted for many of the major revolutions the internet has seen over time - since the invention of the hypertext protocol and the web browser, that is.
The Next Revolution for the Net: Extremely Fast, Lots of Bandwidth
animated GIF. As bandwidth and speeds increased, pages became more robust, too. This change led to sites like Amazon and eBay, both of which launched in 1995, allowing people to shop from home using their PCs. By 2001, the usefulness of the net encouraged enough people to come online to make sites like the crowd-sourced Wikipedia possible. By 2003, the still-increasing speeds meant users could now download music from the newly launched iTunes store, customize (and overload!) their online profiles on MySpace, and play in online virtual worlds like Second Life. The following year, online photo-sharing prepared to go mainstream thanks to the launch of Flickr. Facebook, too, launched this year and eventually became the largest photo-sharing site in the world only three years later when they announced how they hosted over 10 billion photos on their site.In the early days, slow dial-up speeds left us with simplistic, HTML-coded web pages where the most action to be had was an
Also in 2005, the abundance of high-speed data connections made video-sharing site YouTube a hit among a new generation of user-generated content producers. By 2007, broadcasters banded together to launch Hulu, a video-streaming site for commercial content in an effort to compete with pirated peer-to-peer downloads as well as iTunes, which by now was serving up TV shows and full-length movies. In Europe, the BBC iPlayer was doing much of the same. In 2008, the launch of the 3G iPhone brought the high-speed internet to the handheld and revolutionized the mobile phone industry. This year, the handset's hardware was upgraded to record video, too.
As you can see, many of these changes were either directly or indirectly impacted by the increasing speeds and bandwidth provided by both mobile operators and ISPs. But currently, it's the mobile broadband networks which are having more of an impact on the latest trends. Even with all their struggles (cough AT&T cough), without the bandwidth provided, phones like the iPhone wouldn't even be possible and the smartphone revolution wouldn't be underway as it is now.
So what will the world look like by 2017? It's almost hard to imagine. But the promise of 4G could deliver things like live streaming HDTV, real-time updates from a variety of services, video chat, abundant use of MiFi, mobile cloud computing, streaming via iTunes instead of downloading (we like that!), and much more. In other words, the high-speed net that you use at home could go with you everywhere via your netbook, tablet, smartphone, or some other device in between. What will that mean for the world of online applications and cloud computing? Only that the next big shift for the internet as a whole is underway and we're privileged to be watching it happen now.