Internet Service Providers See Data Usage Reaching a Tipping Point

With an increasing number of products eating up bandwidth, ISPs are a little perplexed as to who is going to pay for it

In the past, gaming consoles were self contained and worked straight out of the box. Today’s games are increasingly more reliant on Internet speed to function properly. This is especially true of Sony’s PS4 and the Xbox One, which are severely reliant on internet features. The manufacturers of the games are also heavily promoting their cloud services such as content sharing and in the case of the PS4, the ability to download as you play the games.

Much of the European Union has the necessary broadband infrastructure to support these games but internet service provider (ISP) are going to have to think twice about their ‘power users’ policies. Domestic data usage patterns of the average household are now approaching the threshold of what marks them as ‘power users,’ a term the IDC defines as using advanced multimedia services like over-the-top video regularly, says Mervyn Kelly from telecommunications supplier Ciena.

“Accommodating this growth will require greater capacity to avoid damaging both service quality and the trust of end users,” said Kelly. “Broadband providers must ensure that existing and future networks are smarter than ever before, providing scalability needed to deal with data hungry devices like the Xbox One, PS4, and advanced smartphones.” This puts ISPs in a bit of a spot. Broadband was once a luxury but it has now become a necessity. ISPs need to fill these increased data demands with packages that are affordable, while maintaining their profits.

Michael Philpott, an analyst at Ovum, puts it this way,”The industry as a whole is struggling to keep up with the rate of change, especially when they want to deliver their own applications and services. None of these services, whether new consoles, Netflix, Apple or Google, are really delivering revenue, they’re all provided by internet-type or device-type players. ISPs turn around and say ‘we’re investing in these networks, we’ve got to make money, we’ve got to charge for it.’”

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