Will Netflix destroy the Internet?

Will Netflix destroy the Internet?

There’s an interesting column in Slate today by Farhad Manjoo which posits a fact about Netflix’ consumption of 20% of the residential Internet at peak:

Well, maybe there is one dark cloud: Will there be enough available bandwidth for Netflix to keep growing? Wired.com’s Ryan Singel points out that in the hours when Netflix hits 20 percent of broadband use, it’s being used by just under 2 percent of Netflix subscribers. That stat has huge implications for how ISPs manage their lines. If 2 percent of Netflix customers are using up one-fifth of the download capacity of North American broadband lines, what will happen when more and more Netflixers begin to watch movies during peak times?

Manjoo goes off the rails in the next paragraph:

Unlike in other countries, our Internet plans haven’t been getting faster, cheaper, and more widespread.

Really? In 2000, 1.5 Mbps Internet service cost $45/mo, and for that price today you can get as much as 25 Mbps, and wired broadband is now available to 95% of Americans. The popular press always mixes fact and fiction. But the revelation that 2% of Netflix customers are consuming 20% of residential Internet resources is dramatic when you put it beside the rise of video calling and similar applications.