AARNet might have some of the biggest Intertubes in Australia, but even it is feeling the effects of YouTube and Facebook on its traffic figures, with usage more than doubling.
AARnet (Australia's Academic and Research Network), which provides both high-speed research links and a general Internet connection for Australia's universities and the CSIRO, released its figures for 2007 traffic this week in its monthly newsletter.
According to its numbers, usage of overseas Internet feeds (called off-net traffic in AARspeak) went up from 1,586 terabytes in 2006 to 2,676 in 2007, a whopping 69% year-on-year increase. The vast majority of that traffic -- 2,018 terabytes to be precise -- came from offshore. (At least they're not paying standard Telstra wholesale rates for all that data.
While you might suspect that a wave of torrents was responsible for much of that activity, AARNet is pointing the finger elsewhere. Its newsletter says that the rise in numbers probably reflects "the increased usage of recreational and social networking applications such as YouTube, FaceBook and MySpace." (Memo to people attending university: you are too old for MySpace.)
The report also noted that growth figures had slowed somewhat towards the end of the year, a trend which reflects not only the generous holiday schedule the academic life provides but also, the newsletter suggests, "the introduction of traffic control measures by some universities". Back to that thesis, slackers!
In any event, before you start assuming that university types are squandering absolutely all their time on games of Scrabulous, the growth rate on the 'on net' research network was even more impressive, rising 152%. With just 851 terabytes of data flying around, however, it seems evolution is still playing a poor second to Evolution of Dance.