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Both fixed and mobile networks are seeing rapid increases in global broadband traffic, according to one IT analyst.

Research conducted by IDC reveals fixed networks are currently witnessing 50 per cent year-on-year growth, as the world's "ravenous appetite" for online data continues to grow.

And mobile broadband providers are facing even greater pressures - as the demands placed on their 3G and 4G networks double every 12 months.

IDC said both fixed and mobile traffic volumes are "driven by power users that are gorging themselves on a disproportionate amount of bandwidth".

The analyst predicts that end-user demand for worldwide wireline and mobile broadband traffic will increase from 9,665PB per month in 2010 to a phenomenal 116,539PB per month in 2015.

Web browsing, peer-to-peer file sharing, audio and video streaming, and a host of other applications are driving bandwidth consumption, IDC explained.

Matt Davis, director of consumer and small and medium-sized business telecom services, said that despite the enormous growth predicted, it is difficult to overestimate the scale of this phenomenon.

"Fixed and mobile operators will have to deal with a new reality that will tax network resources to the limit - and perhaps past the limit."

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