Cisco Predict UK Broadband Speeds of 51Mbps by 2020 vs 48Mbps Global - ISPreview UK
Cisco has today published its 11th annual 2016 Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecast, which predicts that world Internet traffic will grow from 72,521 PetaBytes per month in 2015 to 194,374 PB in 2020. Meanwhile average fixed broadband speeds in the UK will double from 24.7Mbps in 2015 to 51.3Mbps in 2020 (roughly level with the global average).

We should point out that the current global figure of 72,521 PetaBytes (monthly) for all types of Internet traffic breaks down to 58,539 PB for consumer traffic and 13,982 PB for business. Similarly fixed line Internet connections continue to dominate the picture (49,494 PB), while “Managed IP” networks gobbled 19,342 PB and Mobile held just 3,685 PB.

However Mobile data traffic is growing at 53% per year (CAGR) and will be almost level with Managed IP traffic come 2020 (30,564 PB monthly), although by then fixed line connections will still dominate (130,758 PB). In the UK, the average Internet user is expected to generate 93.9 GigaBytes of Internet traffic per month in 2020 (5.6 GB on mobile data), which is up from 40 GB in 2015 (0.96 GB on mobile data).

Just to put all of these big figures into some perspective, a humble 8Mbps (Megabits per second) broadband line can also be converted to read as 1 MBps (MegaBytes per second) and it then takes around 1000 MegaBytes to equal a GigaByte. After that it goes a little like this..

1000 GigaBytes = 1 TeraByte
1000 TeraBytes = 1 PetaByte
1000 PetaBytes = 1 ExaByte
1000 ExaBytes = 1 ZettaByte

By 2020 Smartphones are predicted to generate 30% of total IP traffic, while the PC’s (desktop / laptop computers) total IP traffic contribution will fall to 29%. Similarly 78% of all traffic is expected to flow over a WiFi or Mobile link by 2020 (this includes your home wireless router), which compares with 2015 when wired devices accounted for a slim majority of IP traffic at 52%.

As predicted last year the results mean that annual global IP traffic should surpass the ZettaByte (1000 ExaBytes) threshold this year (1.1ZB per year or 88.7EB) and it will hit the dizzy heights of 2.3ZB per year in 2020. But it will come as no huge surprise to find that video content (YouTube, Netflix etc.) will account for 82% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020, up from 70% in 2015.

<Table - Global Internet Traffic>

The report also includes predictions for broadband speed, although the predictions should be taken with a pinch of salt and Cisco’s results are also subject to the usual issues of network availability vs adoption (i.e. people may be able to take a faster connection, but they might choose to retain a slower service to save money etc.) and other caveats (e.g. the impact of slow WiFi or network congestion etc.).

At present Cisco claims that the global average fixed line broadband speed is 24.7Mbps (Megabits per second) and they predict that this will rise to 47.7Mbps by 2020, which is almost a mirror for the United Kingdom where the current speed is also stated to be 24.7Mbps and this is predicted to hit 51.3Mbps by 2020.

Interestingly Cisco predicts that 81% of fixed broadband connections in the UK will be faster than 10Mbps by 2020 (up from 62% today), which is of course the same year where the Government intends to introduce their new 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO). However Cisco’s report is based on predictions from current usage trends and will not yet be able to account for the USO.

The results for Mobile Broadband connectivity are less informative, although Cisco claims that the UK’s average mobile speed should grow 3-fold to hit 18Mbps in 2020. By comparison the global average mobile speed will grow by the same amount, but it will only reach 7Mbps by 2020.

As we said above, it’s important to take Cisco’s report with a huge pinch of salt because their future predictions, especially those that go past the +2 year mark, can end up being quite wide of the mark.

Cisco’s Visual Networking Index 2015-2020