Out-of-home Internet Use Hits 35 Petabytes a Month

High Street UK Chester Shops (1024x682)The latest figures for out-of-home Internet traffic have passed 35 petabytes a month in the UK, an amount of data roughly equivalent to 8m full DVDs.

The figure comes from a report by the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the governments leading advisory group on broadband usage, which also suggests this number will grow exponentially over the next few years.

The data volume, which comes from June 2013, is split between cellular and wi-fi networks, with the former making up around two-thirds of the data. Out-of-home internet use grew by 39 per cent between 2012 and 2013, but the increasing number of wi-fi hotspots and wider 4G service means this growth is likely to accelerate, with 4G users consuming nearly 2.5 times as much data as those on 3G.

Mobile device limits, such as battery life and data allowances, network coverage and capacity and the difficulty in accessing public wi-fi hotspots are the largest barriers to growth, but while mobile devices are likely to improve incrementally, network coverage and wi-fi access may well become dramatically better in the next few years.

“It is generally accepted that demand for internet services out of the home will grow rapidly but relatively little work has examined why and how this growth will take place,” said Matthew Evans, CEO of the BSG. “Addressing this evidence gap was out primary motivation in commissioning this research. The recommendations we make in the report will help the industry expand coverage, improve the resilience of the network and further boost user experience.”