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Months after Netflix lands in Australia, Internet usage spikes 40 percent

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Netflix’s ability to create binge-watchers appears to be pretty universal. New data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the country’s Internet usage has spiked compared to last year and six months ago, according to Gizmodo Australia. Not coincidentally, Netflix arrived in the country in March, and the streaming service appears to have been a major factor in driving up Internet usage ever since.

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics looks at the period between June 2014 and June 2015. Compared to the start of the year in question, Australia’s fixed line broadband users’ data consumption grew by a striking 40 percent. Meanwhile, the overall volume of data downloaded in the three months ending on June, 30 2015 increased by 21 percent compared to the three-month period ending on Dec. 31, 2014. It’s a sharp jump, one likely impacted by throngs of new Netflix users across Australia.

Even as early as April of this year, there were reports that Netflix was taking a toll on the country’s Internet infrastructure. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that some Internet service providers were seeing Netflix account for almost 50 percent of their traffic. The trend has continued, with the streaming service reportedly causing a doubling of broadband traffic between March and September, according to The Australian.

That Netflix would have a noticeable impact on the country’s Internet usage isn’t surprising. The streamer has proven to be wildly popular at home, and beyond as it has aggressively expanded into about 80 countries so far. In North America, Sandvine, a Canadian bandwidth-management systems vendor, revealed that Netflix accounted for 34.5 percent of downstream bandwidth usage in primetime hours at last check, according to Variety in late May 2015.

For Australia, the spike in traffic has led to complaints about slowing Internet speeds. With Netflix continuing its global expansion, Internet service providers in countries set to welcome the streaming giant may want to learn from the Australian experience and prepare their infrastructure for a significant increase in traffic in advance. Netflix aims to expand its international presence to 200 countries within the next couple of years.

Stephanie Topacio Long
Stephanie Topacio Long is a writer and editor whose writing interests range from business to books. She also contributes to…
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