Most Read: Business

DJIA
0.47%
S&P 500
0.46%
NASDAQ
0.29%
 Last Update: 01:02 PM 10/24/2014

World Markets from      

 

Other Market Data from      

 

Key Rates from      

 

Blog Contributors

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee

Timothy B. Lee covers technology policy, including copyright and patent law, telecom regulation, privacy, and free speech. He also writes about the economics of technology. He has previously written for Ars Technica and Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter or send him email.

Brian Fung

Brian Fung

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post, focusing on electronic privacy, national security, digital politics and the Internet that binds it all together. He was previously the technology correspondent for National Journal and an associate editor at the Atlantic. His writing has also appeared in Foreign Policy, Talking Points Memo, the American Prospect and Nonprofit Quarterly. Follow Brian on Google+ .

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government. She also delves into the societal impacts of technology access and how innovation is intertwined with cultural development.

Post Tech
About / Where's Post I.T.?   |    Twitter  |   On Facebook  |  RSS RSS Feed  |  E-Mail Cecilia
Posted at 11:23 AM ET, 07/26/2011

YouTube use explodes, and minorities lead the way


Mark Vopel records a performance by the band Jane's Addiction that will be used for a 60-minute documentary available on YouTube later this year. (AP)
Seven in 10 American adults online are using video sharing sites such as YouTube, with minority users leading the way, according to a report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

And much of the video streaming is being done on mobile devices, according to a separate study, which reported that YouTube was the most popular mobile Internet service. YouTube accounted for 22 percent of mobile data bandwidth usage and 52 percent of total video streaming in the first half of the year, according to broadband consulting firm Allot Communications.

The findings raise fresh questions about how video-hungry consumers will be affected by data caps and how carriers will be able to handle the explosion of traffic on their networks. We wrote Monday about Netflix’s concerns about data caps, or metered billing, which are being introduced by a growing number of fixed-wire and wireless Internet service providers.

Americans are creating, sharing and viewing video online more than ever, Pew reported in a study released Tuesday. The percentage of American adults online using video-sharing sites such as YouTube or Vimeo increased to 71 percent in May 2011 from 66 percent the year before.

Blacks and Hispanics were the most active video consumers online — with 76 percent of African Americans and 81 percent of Hispanics saying they used video-sharing sites.

Household income level didn’t have much effect on video sharing: 71 percent of users with annual incomes less than $30,000 said they use the services, along with 81 percent of users with incomes above $75,000 a year.

Some Internet service providers attribute the burst of traffic on their networks for their decision to impose tiered data packages and do away with all-you-can-eat flat-rate plans.

Last month, AT&T general counsel Wayne Watts wrote in a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal that video traffic on its wireline network grew 500 percent between early 2007 and the end of 2010.

“As data traffic on wired networks grows, requiring more investment in more bandwidth, it’s only fair that those who use the most pay for what they use,” Watts wrote. “Only 2% of AT&T broadband customers use 20% of the bandwidth on our network today. Usage-based pricing ensures that the vast majority of customers are not forced to subsidize the enormous data consumption of a very small minority of broadband users.”

But public interest groups and some policy experts say data caps may curb Internet use — particularly among minorities who depend on wireless access to the Internet.

“What’s difficult about the justifications from ISPs is that it’s a black box on how they come up with their data caps and if the limits are justified,” said Harold Feld, a policy experts at public interest group Public Knowledge. “Minorities risk getting hit hardest by things like overage fees and penalties.”

Related:

Netflix downgrades quality of videos in Canada, cites bandwidth caps

Blacks and Hispanics among biggest users of mobile Web

By  |  11:23 AM ET, 07/26/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company