A study into future trends in internet usage has shown consumer demand for download speeds far outstripping upload requirements by 2020.

Fast Forward: How the speed of the internet will develop between now and 2020, completed by the Technical University of Eindhoven and Dialogic, predicts average demands at 165 Mbps download compared to 20 Mbps upload by the end of the decade.

“The trend in consumer behaviour which lies behind these figures speaks for itself. Customers consume much more content than they produce,” Said Caroline van Weede, Managing Director of Cable Europe who along with the Dutch cable association NL Kabel commissioned the study. “European cable companies are more than ready to satisfy these growing consumer appetites for internet speeds. The new DOCSIS 3.1 specification will deliver possibilities of 10 Gbps downstream and 2 Gbps upstream – a much wider capacity than even this research indicates. We’re future-proofed for the fastest connections and the most sophisticated applications.”

In calculating the future need for upload speeds, researchers took into account a range of potential new services, along with the arrival of Ultra HD and the increasing use of remote back-up services which provide users with a system for the back-up, storage and recovery of computer files, all of which will place increased demand on upload. The increase in download speeds is largely the result of growth in online video usage.

The study also took account of the highest demand users, a specific group which represents around 2% of all users, yet generates approximately half of all the upload activity. The researchers predict that this group will in 2020 be operating at 1 Gbps download and 315 Mbps demand for internet speeds.

Researchers developed a quantitative model in order to predict demand for internet speeds in the coming years. The model made the distinction between average users and intensive users, and also took account of a variety of applications and online services such as peer-to-peer filesharing, online video and cloud based usage. The research took account of the total daily volume of data traffic and the relative urgency of that traffic per application and per user group. As a main point of reference, current data from Dutch cable operators and FttH operators was used, alongside data provided by Sandvine and Cisco.

Further Information