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Comcast: Streaming Accounted for 71% of Downstream Traffic Last Year

(Image credit: Comcast)

Despite what appeared to be significant increases in videoconferencing activity during the pandemic, video streaming accounted for 71% of all downstream U.S. internet usage in 2020, said the nation’s largest ISP, Comcast, in a new report spotlighting network data consumption last year. 

Streaming was actually upon 70% over the pre-pandemic 2019 frame, the cable operator said. 

And despite the rapid emergence of "Zoom" in the popular lexicon, videoconferencing only accounted for 5% of U.S. network data usage last year, the cable company added. 

The Comcast report, titled 2020 Network Data, serves as a kind of self back pat for Comcast, which touts a $15 billion investment in network infrastructure, starting in 2017, as the key reason it was able to keep up with downstream traffic demands that peaked at 38% over the 2019 level, and upstream demands that increased 56%.

“The internet was a bright spot during the darkest hours of 2020, keeping hundreds of millions of people connected to work, school, entertainment, and most importantly, each other,” said Tony Werner, president of technology, product and “Xperience” at Comcast Cable, in a statement.

Among other tidbits from the report, Comcast said that traffic patterns remain “highly asymmetrical,” with downstream traffic still 14 times higher than upstream volumes. 

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!