BitTorrent Traffic Share Drops to New Low

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New data published by Canadian network management company Sandvine reveals that BitTorrent's share of total Internet traffic during peak hours is going down. For the first time since the file-sharing boom began it has dropped below 10% in Europe and the same downward trend is visible in the Asia-Pacific region.

download-keyboardOver the years we have been following various reports on Internet traffic changes, specifically in relation to BitTorrent.

Five years ago file-sharing dominated Internet traffic across the globe, but this pattern has slowly started to reverse.

Online entertainment services such as YouTube and Netflix have already taken away a large chunk of BitTorrent’s “market share” in North America and the trend is carrying over to Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

The latest report from network management company Sandvine reveals that torrent traffic is now responsible for ‘only’ 8.44% of all Internet traffic in Europe during peak hours, compared to 17.99% two years ago.

Top 10 Peak Period Applications (Europe, Fixed Access)


This doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s less torrent traffic, as overall bandwidth use may have doubled in the same period as well. However, other online entertainment services are gaining ground during peak hours.

With 21% YouTube currently accounts for most traffic and Netflix is also on the rise, even though it’s only available in a few countries. In the UK and Ireland Netflix is already good for 10% of peak downstream traffic.

The same pattern is observed in the Asia-Pacific region although BitTorrent still tops all other services there.

Top 10 Peak Period Applications (Asia-Pacific, Fixed Access)


At a quarter of all downstream traffic during peak hours, BitTorrent’s traffic share is down a few percentage points compared to last year. YouTube is currently in second place there with little over 20% of the total traffic share.

Since the recent dip in BitTorrent’s traffic share is relatively limited, it’s hard to tell whether the absolute bandwidth transferred by file-sharers has also declined in this region.

Finally, it’s worth noting that file-sharers worldwide may be more likely to use a VPN. This would lower the traffic share as well, underestimating the BitTorrent traffic numbers.

Time will tell whether the downward trends will continue in the months to come, and how the global differences in BitTorrent usage will develop.


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