An analysis of data aggregated from 45 U.S. rural communications service providers suggests that rural users behave in ways similar to urban users.

Video streaming was the dominant broadband-enabled application among eight categorized applications.

Video streaming accounted for 67 percent of down stream Internet traffic and 13 percent of upstream traffic in the studied networks.

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Large content distribution networks (CDNs) such as Level3, Limelight, and Akamai, which carry video content from sites like Netflix and YouTube, accounted for 80 percent of all streamed video traffic.

In terms of upstream traffic, business services generated the most, accounting for 53 percent of all upstream traffic.

As other reports consistently show, a small percentage of very-heavy users account for a disproportionate amount of usage. About five percent of users account for 50 percent of Internet traffic, the Calix report found.

Of course, many would argue that service providers use distinctive usage cases to create customized service packages, at least to the extent current Federal Communications Commission rules allow.

The report notes, for example, that the majority of customer endpoints with the heaviest bandwidth usage are heavy users of video streaming.

Customers with high sustained upstream capacity consumption are likely telecommuters or home business users. That might suggest marketing of incremental services helpful for people working at home.

Video and real-time services arguably offer the most-logical opportunities for retail packaging and network management, consistent with existing FCC rules. “A package that targets a superior video streaming experience may offer the service provider the opportunity for an up-sell, and the subscriber with a better experience,” Calix argues.

But what cannot be done, under FCC rules, is to offer a service that prioritizes video bits for such users, as useful as that would be, from an end-user perspective. Nor is it clear that service providers can create “carve outs” for heavy video entertainment users that allow consumption without affecting a usage cap.

Report data was drawn from actual Internet traffic monitored in U.S. service provider networks from the fourth quarter (October through December) of 2011.

To download the report,click here

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