Overloading the Internet - Macleans.ca

Overloading the Internet

10 per cent of all Internet users in Canada had visited Netflix

Overloading the Internet
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Is Netflix going to break the Internet? The week after the movie-rental giant brought its streaming service to Canada in late September, Netflix movie and TV downloads accounted for a huge chunk of bandwidth during evening hours, giving it “shocking levels of success,” according to a report by the research analysis firm Sandvine.


The report explained that in only the first week after the launch, 10 per cent of all Internet users in Canada had visited Netflix. This means Canada is on the way to the situation that already exists in the U.S.: as illegal download services like BitTorrent have declined, Netflix’s video-on-demand takes up 20 per cent of all the available Internet use.

Sandvine speculated that this success caused “alarm among the country’s service provider community,” because this is a “double-whammy” for cable companies. Now that Netflix is here, ISPs will have to use much of their capacity to service the downloads that take viewers away from their TV offerings. But there’s one catch to Netflix’s dominance: during the daytime, downloads are at a much lower level. That means most people aren’t streaming movies at work yet. Netflix still has a long way to go before it can catch up with YouTube in that respect.