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Internet Streaming Services Gobble Half of the Traffic on PlusNet UK

Friday, July 27th, 2012 (3:09 am) - Score 2,377
plusnet uk

Broadband ISP PlusNet UK has revealed that internet streaming services (e.g. YouTube) now account for over 42% of all usage on its network during the evening and often peak at 50-60% depending on what’s happening (i.e. big sporting events). A raft of other stats have also been published including some that hint at a possible abuse of the SkyGo service.

The total usage of PlusNet’s network has grown by 40% in the past year (note: doubled in just over 2 years) and audio / video streaming services make up over half of that. As you might expect most of this comes from the digital delights of YouTube (15% of total traffic during peak periods) and the BBC’s catch-up TV iPlayer service (10% of traffic). Reams of free content can be very attractive.

plusnet uk internet streaming per day

The ISP notes that traffic from newer services, such as Netflix’s unlimited movie streaming platform, is beginning to show but they’re still a long way off the big boys mentioned above. Similarly Spotify, an online music streaming service, only accounts for over 1% of the ISPs network bandwidth but is still described by PlusNet as being “clearly popular“.

Dave Tomlinson, Plusnet’s Product Team, said:

As we’ve said before, iPlayer and YouTube dominate the amount of streaming traffic on our network. Their free content is consumed by lots of people. Where people are paying for content, they use it a lot, but the penetration is a lot lower than the free services and we’d speculate that services like SkyGo are used more by the friends of Sky customers wanting to see the exclusive content rather than people watching it on a different device to their TV. After all, if you are paying for a Sky Sports subscription, why wouldn’t be you be in your front room, watching it on your main TV.

People are liking what they see and are consuming more. We’ve seen step changes in the past after big events like the World Cup two years ago where people have watched the football online and then started watching more regular shows on iPlayer or other services. There’s a generation starting to emerge that don’t watch TV on the television when it’s broadcast, they watch on demand when they want to on the device that’s most convenient to watch it on. When they buy their own homes and get a TV, the first requirement is going to be that it connects to the Internet and second that it’s big.”

For those who missed it. SkyGo is what emerged after BSkyB (Sky Broadband) merged their online broadband TV catch-up service (Sky Player) and their mobile TV platform (Sky Mobile TV) into a single service last year.

PlusNet claims to have seen SkyGo peak when exclusive content, such as big football games, are showing but barely registers the rest of the time. The ISP suggests that this might indicate a tendency by Sky subscribers to share their online account details with others who aren’t Sky customers. Sky probably don’t approve of that.

So what about the other major TV channels and their iPlayer-alike services? Apparently 4oD (Channel 4), Demand 5 (Channel 5) and ITV Player combined do roughly half the traffic of iPlayer. Likewise ITV Player is similar to SkyGo in that it also has peaks for exclusive content, such as their Champions League games.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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7 Responses
  1. Avatar Phil

    Plusnet should shut up and I do what I want because I am paying subscription to use Plusnet broadband and even skygo, if I want to watch it,that my choice! My usage allowance is my choice with plusnet. If Plusnet don’t want us to watch skygo, they will be out of business sooner by losing more customers!

  2. PlusNet didn’t say anything like that Phil. It’s our interpretation of the published stats and their suggestion of account sharing. At no point did they say not to do it, they just speculated about what might be causing those peaks. Big difference.

  3. Mark’s right, Phil. The original article is intended as a factual insight into the traffic trends across our network. Nowhere have we said we have a problem with what customers are using their connections for. Like you’ve said, that’s entirely up to you/our customers.

    Bob Pullen
    Plusnet Digital Care

    • Avatar Deduction

      quote”SkyGo are used more by the friends of Sky customers wanting to see the exclusive content rather than people watching it on a different device to their TV. After all, if you are paying for a Sky Sports subscription, why wouldn’t be you be in your front room, watching it on your main TV.”

      Your company needs to be a bit careful of what you are implying there. You can get Skygo without taking Skys broadband (you only need to be a TV customer).

      quote”PlusNet claims to have seen SkyGo peak when exclusive content, such as big football games, are showing but barely registers the rest of the time.”

      That actually makes perfect sense more than the theory of account details being share. Up and down the land their are people in a household that either love or late football. So when big games are on im not shocked traffic spikes as hundreds of partners up and down the land agree to disagree whos going to watch the football and they wander off to the computer to avoid an argument.

      Im not saying you are moaning about the data consumption because nowhere does the story go that far, but ive said time and time again video content is going to do nother but grow especially as connections get faster. Plusnet and every ISP without being rude are just gonna have to get used to it… Or more likely in some cases start throttling AGAIN.

  4. Avatar DTMark

    Is it really true that anyone can access the Sky content with effectively just a user name and pasword on any/unlimited devices, the logical conclusion of that being that even if Sky had only one customer in the country then everyone could watch?

    Even clubs like Audible.co.uk only allow you to authorise a certain number of devices to play the content through their own app, which you have to install onto said devices.

    • I think it’s a bit different. It means that the account owner can watch the content on their satellite/TV but a friend might also be able to login to their video-on-demand service at the same time. I recall having trouble when trying to login twice at the same time to my Sky account from two different devices.

  5. Avatar dragoneast

    Well certainly with my Sky TV subscription although I can register two “devices” for Sky Go, I can only watch it on one of them within a single monthly subscription period, and only change the permitted device following the next subscription payment. You need to be a good bureaucrat to manage your Sky subscription.

    I’d much prefer my watching to be limited to one of the two registered devices at a time, but that’s not how it works for me. Ancient tech, I suppose. Sky’s better . . . well than nothing I suppose (but only just). A bit of content creativity and imagination too wouldn’t go amiss.

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