This study provides insight in the future upload and download bandwidth demand for residential broadband connections, by answering the following research question:
How will upload and download bandwidth change between now and 2020?
Dutch consultancy Dialogic and the Eindhoven University of Technology were commis-sioned by NLkabel and Cable Europe to carry out this study. Dialogic is an independent research consultancy, focused on innovation and specializing in telecommunications. The Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is a large research and educational institute, and has already collaborated with Dialogic on a variety of projects.
It is important to recognize that residential broadband speed demand has a very diverse character. Households vary considerably in their intensity of use, the type of applications they use their connection for, and the amount of traffic these applications generate. In this study, we address this diversity by differentiating between different categories of users, and our overall outcomes are averages over these categories. While the development of the demand for upload speed is related to that of download speeds, their developments are not necessarily identical. Among other things, download speeds are sometimes more critical to users as they are often ‘waiting’ to consume content or use an application, while they are typically less pressed when uploading data. However, down- and upload speeds are closely entwined.
In this study, a prospective quantitative model of bandwidth demand was developed in order to answer the research question. Figure 1 shows the estimated rise in demand over the coming seven years, expressed as the average speed of a sufficient subscription. This means that this subscription satisfies the demand of the average user. In 2013, the average sufficient provisioned speeds are estimated as 15.3 Mbit/s (downstream) and around 1.6 Mbit/s (upstream). Note that this is an average: very large differences exist between different user groups. The demand for bandwidth is expected to grow exponentially over the next seven years. The CAGR (compound annual growth rate) is 40% for downstream and 44% for upstream traffic demand. In 2020, sufficient subscription speeds for the average user are forecast to be approximately 165 Mbit/s (downstream) and 20 Mbit/s (upstream).