Cisco say web traffic will quadruple in 4 years

Device effects on data consumption from 2011 to 2015

When I first read "Web traffic will quadruple in 4 years" I thought WOW - really! That is HUGE. But really is it?

Well the report has some great growth figures that on their own do feel huge, for example mobile handset data consumption will increase 31 times by 2015.

But then I stopped to think about it, it is not huge at all. The cisco data forecast is not saying there will be 4 times as many users, it is saying there will be 4 times as much data transmission. I don't think that is big news - of course it is getting bigger every day. Computer numbers always grow at such a rapid rate, that is where Moore's Law came from.

My fixed line ADSL gets about 8Mb connection. I use this to watch TV over BBC iplayer using my Sony PS3. I use it buy video from iTunes, books from Amazon and music from iTunes. I watch you tube. My kids constantly stream music from Spotify and watch cartoons on CBBC Iplayer. 4 years ago my web connection (out in the sticks of Peterborough) was 1Mb, I could not consume all the video I consume now, even if I tried.

In the UK BT are rolling out 30Mb fibre to houses and offices, so I will be able to consume HD video and so will my kids. This is going to push data consumption up. If BT could roll this out faster, the consumption growth would be quicker.

Then we move on to areas of the world that are only just getting broadband at affordable prices, for example areas in South America or South Africa. As this infrastructure grows the consumption will grow.

As there are more lanes added to the super highway all over the world there will be more devices available. We see tablets growing rapidly, mobile Internet users is rapidly growing and Google TV has arrived to an elite few willing to spend the early adopter big bucks. Consuption of TV on demand will drive more web traffic than anything. If you consider how much data is in a TV show, compared to an album in MP3 or a eBook, it is HUGE. In four years time more and more of us will be as I am today enjoying TV over the web. In the US we see movie rental online growing adding to our data consumption.

So considering mobile, tablets, web tv coupled with bigger web pipes and cheaper costs, why is the forecast a only 4 times growth in 4 years.