I know, you’re asking what the hell an exabyte (EB) is aren’t you? Well it’s 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 bytes – a quintillion, 1018, a billion gigabytes, a…well you get the picture. Yes, quintillion is a word (the US/UK version not the other one). When? Delve into the sea of zeroes with me and find out. Coda, the research company in the UK, says that we’ll be consuming that much video, well 1.8 exabytes in fact, per month come 2017. That is of course if the Mayans were wrong and the world doesn’t end in 2012 like some of us expect it to do. Oh, did I mention that the 1.8 exabytes is going to be mobile broadband users on laptops, netbooks, etc?

Actually, to be precise, they’re claiming that mobile broadband users accessing the net via laptops and netbooks will consume 1.8 exabytes of video. Per month. That’s a whole lot of video. In fact, if the average video hits 1GB then that’s almost 1.8 billion videos a month, if all of it went into video viewing that is. The company recently put out a report (see an excerpt here) about Laptops and Netbooks: Mobile Broadband Traffic Across regions. They expect mobile traffic to boom and expand to 40 times what it is now and about 3/4 of it will be video streaming, so yeah, that’s about a billion videos or more right there (1.3 EB).

Who will be eating all that bandwidth?

The majority of the increase will be in Asia Pacific (AP) who will take on a full 53% of it while Europe will have a quarter (26%) and then North America will come in third with 14%, most likely because you all watch most of your video at home or in the office. They state that the AP will consume the most because mobile is generally the only option available for internet in many areas.  4G data connectivity will account for about 1.1 EB they say.

They also state that content creators should be worried about illegal video consumption in the AP as it will continue to blossom as data networks get faster and video consumption rises overall.

Other quick facts from the research:

  • By 2015 video will be 50% of all mobile data traffic, 53% in 2017
  • Legally available video from sites like Hulu and YouTube should alarm broadband carriers as it will chew up a lot of bandwidth

They break down video usage by region and give some large numbers. If they’re right, or even close to it that means that we’re all in for a large upward ride over the next decade. To get your hands on the full report be prepared to part with some cash. Pricing is available here.