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TalkTalk Boost UK Network Capacity by 100Gbps for ‘The Grand Tour’

Saturday, November 19th, 2016 (8:03 am) - Score 2,135
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UK ISP TalkTalk has revealed that they’ve had to add an additional 100Gbps (Gigabits per second) of data capacity to their network just to help cope with any extra load being generated by Amazon Prime’s new TV show, The Grand Tour (aka – Top Gear, but not on the BBC).

Internet video and TV streaming services, such as Netflix, NOW TV and Amazon Prime, have become increasingly common over the past few years. As a result online video content now accounts for around 60-70% of all Internet traffic (depending upon which study you read), so it’s not surprising that broadband ISPs need to keep an eye on developments.

As such TalkTalk has predicted that “tens of thousands” of their broadband customers could be watching the show when it “airs” (i.e. becomes available to the Interwibble) every Friday, which is likely to reflect a mix of HD (High Definition) and Ultra HD (4K) quality streams. All told they’ve added another 100Gbps just for TGT, as well as an extra 100Gbps to cover general increases.

Gary Steen, TalkTalk’s Chief Technology Officer, said:

“The growing trend to stream shows, and watch whenever you want, is only going to become even more popular for our customers in the future. That’s why we need to make sure our network stays ahead of the game. In total, we’ve added an extra 200GBps of capacity specifically for Amazon video content including the Grand Tour.”

It’s worth pointing out that TalkTalk’s network traffic handles around 2-3 Terabits per second of data traffic, so 100Gbps just to help cope with peaks from a single TV show still represents a fair investment. This highlights one of the reasons why prices rise every year (i.e. data consumption surges year-on-year, especially with connections becoming ever faster).

Amazon Prime tends to recommend a minimum broadband speed of at least 3.5Mbps for their HD streams (less for Standard Definition) and you’ll need around 25Mbps for 4K, with the video quality adapting to your connection speed and thus sucking more data on faster connections. Prime costs £79 per year (or £5.99 per month).

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Mark Jackson

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.

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23 Responses
  1. captain.cretin

    They need to, the BBC news website says The Grand Tour consists of 12 hour long episodes 12 HOURS!!!!

    (The vital importance of the comma)

  2. john

    Lastnight was 1hr 11 mins. All in glorious UHD/4K – and it was fab!. I knew within 5 minutes the CE/MLB version was so so dead in the water for me anyway

  3. john

    Every BBC series of 12 was 57/58 mins each, and then the BBC restricted them. so it’s not much difference.

  4. gerarda

    I think Amazon should me made to pay the cost of broadcasting their material instead of it being added to everyone else’s broadband bills

    • FibreFred

      It’s a choice to use or not use?

    • FibreFred

      Arrr sorry I get your point now 🙂

    • john

      What have I missed? Since when was this added to everyone’s broadband bill?

      Firstly Amazon’s shares are current US$760.16 each and secondly the company is worth 292 Billion

      Do they really need to do the former?

    • FibreFred

      He is saying that the 100Gbps investment will be paid for by all TalkTalk customers regardless whether they use Amazon Prime or not.

    • Rtho782

      There is a reason we have net neutrality.

      It’s TalkTalks customers downloading the data, why should Amazon pay?

      Your suggestion would, long term, ruin the internet, with every content provider forced to pay every ISP. And we both know ISPs would not reduce prices.

    • Ignition

      Amazon aren’t broadcasting anything. TalkTalk’s paying customers request the content, which is then delivered via the broadband service they subscribe to.

  5. captain.cretin

    Correct, but TT is so dire that TGT is just an excuse, if they dont upgrade they will fall off the face of the earth, the service will get so slow.

    • Evan Crissall

      Funny that. Yet ISPs provisioning through both BT and TT backhauls – for redundancy – speak better of TalkTalk’s network. In fact TalkTalk Business is one of the best regarded. So too for ISPs which re-sell it.

  6. chris

    Irs not free for amazon, upstream capacity is just as costly for amazion as is any other provider

    • gerarda

      Thats’ a bit like saying Amazon only pay to have their parcels delivered as far the sorting office, then the postal service has to cover the delivery costs.

    • AndyH

      I guess by that logic, when we use Youtube, Google should be paying a percentage of our monthly line rental as it’s their data being send to our houses.

    • gerarda

      That would certainly go along way to getting the balance of costs right.

    • Ignition

      Really? Last I checked we are paying for those parcels of data to be delivered that last bit to us. Doesn’t happen with physical parcels, entirely paid for by the sender.

      The balance of costs is fine. Split between those supplying the content, in this case Amazon, and those demanding the content, who pay their monthly subscription to the ISP.

      If the ISP has insufficient income they are, of course, able to increase the monthly rates they charge their subscribers.

      Let’s not go down the US route of ISPs holding up content providers to pay them for capacity else they intentionally let the interconnects congest, eh?

  7. Ignition

    Hmm going by the difference between my single-threaded and multi-threaded performance I think they have more work to do.

  8. dragoneast

    Clever. The way the advertising bods have taken over the news. They don’t even have to pay for the ad space any more.

  9. MikeW

    I just tested out the TGT streams… HD runs at 8Mbps, and UHD runs at 16Mbps.

    The extra 100Gbps can support 6,000 UHD streams, or 12,000 HD streams.

  10. Markdvdman

    Amazon Prime is £79 a year or £7.99 a month NOT £5.9 as that works out cheaper!

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