‘2016 The Year of the data explosion’

Accom Management Guide Summer 2017


It has been an interesting year in regards to the massive amounts of data people are downloading and uploading.  Internet connections are being put under immense strain from streaming video downloads and uploading of data.  More and more people are uploading – posting on social media, uploading video files, video conferencing and Skype calls and synchronising numerous devices together.

Australians’ requirements for data exploded in the last year as online streaming video on demand (SVOD) took Australia by storm.  It is estimated approximately 2.7 million Australians watch Netflix.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics June 2016 Internet Usage Report says that the total volume of data downloaded in the three months ending 30 June 2016 was 2.1 million Terabytes (or 2.1 Exabytes).  This is a 22.3% increase in data downloads when compared with the three months ending 31 December 2015.   From June 2015 to June 2016, the volume of data downloaded by fixed line broadband showed a 51.8% increase.  Upload statistics were unavailable.

Unfortunately our upload speeds in Australia are a disgrace and need to improve and increase dramatically.

Your internet connection over the Christmas holiday period would have been put under the pump.  With advances in online technology and streaming of television means your guests are using and wanting more data and bandwidth on a daily basis.

Increasing your bandwidth with an Internet Service Provider is crucial to ensure that your wifi is delivering the speeds to your guests.

To give you an idea of some of the data requirements for different online technology services I have taken some figures from WhistleOut’s Broadband Usage Guide – 29th Sept 2016.  Please remember that these figures change daily and differ from person to person.

  • The average Australian spends around 48 hours browsing the web per month or about 7GB per month per person in a household.
  • Netflix and other streaming TV services – Standard Definition (SD) viewing expect around 700MB data usage per hour. For High Definition (HD) streaming expect around 3GB per hour data usage. Streaming is the number one data hog.  Netflix automatically chooses the best resolution stream based on the speed of the connection.
  • A standard length movie on iTunes requires 4GB for a HD file and about 1.5GB for a SD copy. TV shows about 1.5GB for HD and 800MB for SD.
  • Facebook & social media – approximately 2Mb per minute (minimum) depending on what is being done – if there are videos watched or embedded and numerous photos viewed, these figures spike dramatically. Videos are embedded in nearly everything now.
  • For every hour of 720p (resolution) video footage on YouTube you’re using up around 2.2GB of data.
  • In 2012, the average YouTube viewer watched 6 hours of video per month. YouTube has since stopped publishing this statistic, but does claim that the number of hours watched by users goes up by 60% each year.
  • Renting movies and TV shows through services like iTunes, BigPond Movies and Xbox Movies can require a large download. Normally the size of the file is in the product description.  Video streaming uses up as much data as downloading the video –you use the same amount of data every time you watch it.
  • Purchasing games through online stores and downloading the game files – it can be more than 50Gb per game. Then there are patches and updates that can be Gigabytes in size.
  • Skype or Video calls use more and it varies largely depending on the quality of the image being sent. It’s very close to YouTube and other video streaming services in this respect, around 40MB every 5 minutes, or half a GB per hour.

So how did your internet bandwidth cope this Christmas holiday period gone?  Are you able to give more free data to your guests or will this cripple your internet connection?

My suggestion is to look into getting unlimited monthly data on a mid-band plan (SHDSL) or the NBN (if available in your area) or at the least a second ADSL2 connection.

Data and bandwidth requirements are only going to grow more and more every year.  With the NBN, streaming of video and Foxtel looking to stream their services in the very near future you need to start thinking about how are you going to deliver this to your guests and/or allow them to successfully watch what they bring with them.

Judy Senn Director, Time Out Internet