Mark Goldberg points to a recent Sandvine broadband report on recent broadband traffic patterns. Goldberg points to the growth of real-time entertainment traffic, such as streaming, which is consistent with what the CRTC heard during the net neutrality hearings over the summer. Most notable, however, is yet another confirmation that P2P traffic is declining as a percentage of overall traffic. Sandvine reports that it dropped by 25 percent as a share of overall traffic. Moreover, in a table on peak-time bandwidth share, Sandvine reports that web browsing leads (34.4%), followed by real-time entertainment (29.1%), and then P2P (16.9%). Sandvine also reports that peak-time usage is narrowing. In 2008, peak-time ran from 6:00 to 11:00 pm. In 2009, Sandvine said it has narrowed to 7:00 to 10:00 pm.
This data is important in considering the test established by the CRTC for reasonable traffic management practices. First, practices that target P2P will be increasingly difficult to justify (many argue application-specific approaches are never justifiable), given its declining share of traffic the application represents. Second, far broader peak-time characterizations – Bell claims that its peak-time runs from 4:30 pm to 2:00 am – are unlikely to meet the CRTC's standard for any harm from traffic management practices being as little as reasonably possible.