S07E02 - Cord cutting and media unbundling

This week the team are amazed at the way media consumption - driven by 'cord cutters' using services like Netflix - dominate use of both mobile and fixed-line broadband connections.

If streaming media is now the primary use for mobile networks in some circumstances will they be able to cope? Can they sustain the service they offer? And how does the team's usage mirror a recent survey?

The Talking Point

This week we discuss a recent report on internet usage by network management firm Sandvine that highlights:

  • North American subscribers who exhibit “cord cutting” behavior (top 15th percentile of video users) are dominating network usage:
    • Consuming on average 212GB a month, more than seven times the 29GB of a typical subscriber
    • Viewing the equivalent of 100 hours of video each month
    • Accounting for the majority (54%) of total monthly network traffic 
  • In United Kingdom and Ireland, Netflix is now the second largest source of traffic during the peak evening hours, accounting for over 17.8% of downstream fixed access traffic
  • During the World Cup, live streaming of matches is predicted to account for over 40% of network traffic on some Latin American mobile networks

The Chat

Ewan says he's the guy on the bus using up all the central London 4G bandwidth streaming Netflix. He even changed his route to take the bus so he could watch TV. He's aware he complained about other people doing this in the past.

Rafe says that streaming media is the network's biggest problem now and they're faced with a challenge... Can broadcasters pre-emptively record content for you (like TiVo) or should they offer to sell you preferential treatment for your important business email?

Ben says that he's abandoned packages from subscription TV companies and watches everything streamed. In the UK that's easy with the BBC's free service but even the dominant satellite broadcaster Sky costs less for streaming-only.

The Survey

Tell us what you think - we'll report the results in a future episode. If you want to say more, leave us a comment below this post!

Do you watch streamed TV on a:
(tick all that apply)