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Cisco Forecast UK Broadband Speeds of 60Mbps by 2021 vs 30Mbps Today

Friday, Jun 9th, 2017 (4:49 pm) - Score 1,600

Cisco has published their 12th annual 2017 Visual Networking Index (VNI), which predicts that world Internet (IP) traffic will grow from 96EB (ExaBytes) a month in 2016 to 278EB in 2021. Elsewhere average fixed broadband speeds in the UK will double from 29.8Mbps in 2016 to 60.2Mbps by 2021.

The current global traffic figure of 96 ExaBytes (monthly) for all types of Internet traffic breaks down to 78,250PB (PetaBytes) for consumer traffic and 17,804PB for business. Similarly fixed line Internet connections dominate the picture (65,942PB), while “Managed IP” networks gobbled 22,911PB and Mobile held just 7,201PB. But it’s widely expected that Mobile data traffic will overtake “Managed IP” networks by around 2021.

As for the United Kingdom, Cisco forecasts that the average Internet user is expected to generate 140GB (GigaBytes) of Internet traffic per month in 2021 (5.24 GB on Mobile data) or 302GB per household, which is up from 54GB per user in 2016 (1.25 GB on Mobile data) or 115GB per household.

However the study noted that UK households with “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P/H etc.) based connections generated 449GB of internet traffic in 2016 and they predict that this could reach 872GB in 2021. Just to put all of these big figures into some perspective, modern Smartphones often come with upwards of 16-128GB (GigaBytes) in storage space and Desktop PCs might come with 1TB+ (TeraByte) or 1000GB. So it goes a little like this..

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

Elsewhere, Smartphones are predicted to generate 33% of total IP traffic by 2021 (up from 13% today), while the total IP traffic contribution from PCs (desktop / laptop computers) will fall from 46% today to 25% by 2021. Similarly 63% of all IP traffic is expected to flow over a WiFi or Mobile device by 2021 (this includes your home wireless router), which compares with 2016 when wired devices accounted for 51% of IP traffic and this will fall to 37% by 2021.

However it’s no surprise to find that total Internet video traffic (business and consumer) will be 80% of all Internet traffic in 2021, up from 67% in 2016. Services like YouTube, iPlayer, Netflix, NOW TV and Amazon Prime Video continue to be a huge draw, which has in turn helped to fuel demand for superfast broadband connections. Take a look at how much it dominates consumer traffic below.

consumer internet traffic 2017 cisco

The report also includes some predictions for broadband speed, although these should be taken with a pinch of salt and Cisco’s results are also subject to the usual issues of network availability vs take-up (i.e. people may be able to get a faster service but they might not have upgraded to it and will still be on a slower connection); as well as 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 27.5Mbps (Megabits per second) and they predict that this will rise to 53Mbps by 2021 (20Mbps on Mobile Broadband), which is only a handful of Megabits below the forecast for the United Kingdom (see top of article).

Globally 85% of fixed broadband connections will also be faster than 10Mbps by 2021 (up from 63% today) and this is almost identical to the UK, which is interesting because by 2020 we expect the Government’s new 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) to have been fully introduced. Mind you the USO won’t force people to upgrade from slower connections.

uk broadband speed cisco forecast 2021

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 2016-2021
http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/..

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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