Streaming services push Irish internet use up by 75pc
Ireland's internet usage has soared by 75pc in the last year, thanks to an explosion in tablet computers, smartphones and online services such as Netflix.
On the eve of the internet's 25th birthday, the new figures from Ireland's national Internet Neutral Exchange (Inex) show a massive spike in Ireland's web traffic over the last 12 months.
The industry body's data shows that internet traffic has gone from 40 gigabits-per-second (Gbs) to 70Gbs, a rise of 75pc.
The figures also show that Irish people now binge on online movie streaming services such as Netflix at night, rather than concentrating their web use during the day.
Inex represents web traffic data for 82 Irish operators, internet providers and video content firms such as Netflix and RTE.
The surge in web use coincides with a rise in smartphone and tablet sales here and the introduction of high-speed mobile 4G fibre broadband outside Irish cities. It also comes as analysts estimate that online video services such as Netflix have gained hundreds of thousands of subscribers in the last 18 months.
"Typical traffic peaks in February 2013 were around 40 gigabits per second, but by February 2014, they were around 70 gigabits per second," said a spokesman for the Irish internet industry exchange.
"Also, over the past four years, there has been a definite move from traffic peaks taking place during regular working hours to the evening and nighttime. This says that residential users are using more bandwidth than business users. We speculate that this is attributable to an increase in content available combined with improved broadband speeds in the home and mobile devices accessing high bandwidth media content."
While Netflix does not release countrywide subscription figures, analysts conservatively estimate Irish subscription rates at close to 200,000. In the US, one-third of all internet-traffic is now comprised of Netflix movie-streaming.
Meanwhile, tablets such as iPads now outsell PCs two to one in Ireland, while 60pc of Irish people now own a smartphone. And fibre broadband services in Ireland now reach over half of all homes in the country.
The news comes as the world prepares to celebrate 25 years of the web as we know it. On March 12, 1989, Englishman Tim Berners-Lee wrote a document proposing a global information exchange system.
A year later, he released the code that was to prove to be the foundation for the modern-day web as we know it.