What are rural folks doing online?

Calix just released an interesting report that looks at “Internet traffic and applications utilization based upon data aggregated from a subset of Compass Flow Analyze deployments at different sized wireline communications service providers serving rural America.” They get info from 50 broadband providers representing more than 100,000 users. Given the audience it represents, that seems like a sample but I suspect the results are reflective of general use. This latest report is from Q1 2012.

Here are the couple of the high level stats:

  • Video streaming accounted for 64% of downstream Internet traffic – no surprise there
  • 7.5% of users accounted for more than 60% of Internet traffic – I guess that’s akin to the 80/20 rule – a related stat: 7% of endpoints accounted for 55% of overall downstream data consumption
  • Fiber access network subs generated 2.3 times more traffic than copper subs – I found this interesting; if people have better broadband, they use it

I’m including the graphic that indicates rural traffic by application; I found this interesting too. Specifically I noted the greatest contributor to upstream traffic was business services! I often hear people claim that there’s a much great need for downstream traffic than upstream, which is undoubtedly true – but business is happening in the upstream world and I think that needs to be stressed in any discussion on symmetrical goals. I’ll include their explanation of business services, since it wasn’t obvious to me…

Business traffic is primarily characterized by its unique security and authentication applications, like Virtual Private Network (VPN) and Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP), both of which saw large changes in upstream traffic between Q4 2011 and Q1 2012. Not surprisingly, Business Services usage seemed much higher in parts of the country that are seeing the strongest increases in job growth and telecommuting – like the West and Southeast.

The definition makes sense given the context – but doesn’t include much of the business I do online, which includes a lot of uplaoding video. I’d guess that their numbers for busienss traffic are pretty conservative.

This entry was posted in economic development, Research, Rural, Vendors by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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