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UPD Quick Snapshot of UK Internet Traffic During the Brazil 2014 World Cup

Tuesday, Jun 17th, 2014 (8:34 am) - Score 534

The opening ceremony and first match for Brazil’s 2014 WordCup Football event, which began during the late evening hours on Thursday 12th June 2014, saw many broadband ISPs in the United Kingdom report a drop in Internet traffic as subscribers disconnected to visit the living room TV or local pub instead of video streaming.

ISPreview.co.uk has been asking ISPs to help keep us informed about Internet traffic during the games and so far the impact has been a mixed bag, unlike the London 2012 Olympic Games that perhaps understandably saw a much more consistently higher volume of traffic (i.e. GB teams were usually involved in something right throughout the day).

By comparison AAISP reported that the opening ceremony of the Brazil WordCup had no impact (positive or negative) on their Internet traffic levels, which remained at normal and was echoed by Entanet. However KC in Hull reported that their peak network bandwidth during the opening match was 10% less than an average Thursday. In addition, KC noted a 15-20% reduction on normal traffic levels during the England pre-tournament friendly over one week ago on a Saturday.

Meanwhile Virgin Media confirmed that their network traffic was also “fractionally down” compared to the same time a week ago, although the number of people using their Virgin TV Anywhere service rocketed 60%. Virgin also saw a spike in WiFi usage at 11pm on the London Underground network as thousands of football fans travelled home and shared their opinions on social media.

Generally speaking most people had little reason to use the Internet during the opening event because it took place outside of traditional working hours and was available to watch via terrestrial broadcast Freeview TV in HD, which is often a lot better than the BBC’s sometimes flaky iPlayer stream.

So what about the recent England v Italy match on Saturday, which saw us play a reasonable game but still lose 1-2? Most ISPs haven’t yet reported back on that one but EE reported an increase in traffic across its network, reflecting a “massive2,700% increase in usage of iPlayer. At half time EE also saw a 17% increase in usage of Twitter, and a similar uplift on both Instagram and WhatsApp. Meanwhile Facebook traffic was down during the match but peaked at half time.

An EE Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk:

England matches are always popular, even more so during the World Cup, and people are determined to watch them wherever they are, resulting in heavy use of iPlayer. We found it particularly interesting that social media platforms that demand more attention, such as Facebook, saw a slight fall in activity during the match (peaking again at half time), whereas Twitter, which by its nature lends itself more to use during a match, peaked throughout.”

The impact of England’s match is unusual because it also took place on a Saturday and you’d expect fans to thus be watching on a TV, much like the opening ceremony. However EE have yet to clarify whether the traffic they reported is for their entire network (including Home Broadband) or just the mobile side.

UPDATE 11:15am

KC reports that they saw no noticeable difference in traffic levels during the England match on Saturday night compared to the previous Saturday, which is rather different to EE.

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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