Broadband Users Consume 11.4 Gbytes Per Month: Cisco Study

About 10% of the world's broadband subscribers generate more than 60% of all Internet traffic, with the average connection chewing up about 11.4 Gigabytes of Internet traffic per month, according to a Cisco Systems survey of more than 20 service providers.

Meanwhile, the top 1% heaviest global subscribers account more than 20% of all traffic, Cisco found.

The networking company's Visual Networking Index (VNI) Usage report represents activity during the third quarter of 2009 aggregated from cable, wireline telco, and mobile providers in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific and various emerging markets.

Globally, the average broadband connection consumes about 4.3 Gbytes of video and other "visual networking applications" (such as social networking) per month. That's the equivalent of approximately 1.1 hours of Internet video, according to Cisco.

Peer-to-peer traffic represented about 38% of all Internet traffic, which was a significant decrease from Cisco's earlier pilot studies that showed P2P accounting for more than half of all bandwidth used, said Doug Webster, senior director of market management in Cisco's Service Provider Group.

"There's been an assumption that peer-to-peer is taking up the majority of the traffic," Webster said. "But the relative percentage of peer-to-peer is decreasing because of the rise in other application types."

Cisco also found a common "Internet primetime," across all geographies, which spans approximately 9 p.m to 1 a.m. around the world. About 25% of global Internet traffic -- or 93.3 Mbytes per day per connection -- is generated during the Internet "primetime" period.

The company plans to provide future updates to the usage data to measure changes in overall Internet traffic patterns. The new study is separate from the company's Visual Networking Index Forecast and Methodology 2008-2013, which projects that IP traffic will quintuple over that five-year period.