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ISP BT Sees 40% Increase in Internet Traffic from Fortnite Season 10

Friday, August 2nd, 2019 (3:55 pm) - Score 2,548

A bit of pre-weekend fun. BT have informed us that customers on their retail broadband ISP network in the UK, specifically those video gamers downloading the Fortnite Season 10 update, have helped to create a 40% increase in internet traffic over normal holiday activity (recorded at 9am yesterday).

This spike in traffic depicted below is compared to the previous four weeks of UK household internet activity, which also shows changes due to the start of the school summer holidays.

The file size for the update itself, by modern gaming standards, isn’t actually too huge at 2.62GB (GigaBytes) for PC, but it jumps to a whopping 9GB for PS4 and 8.71GB on Xbox. At the same time this is also one of the world’s most popular video games with 250 million global players, which is sure to tax networks.

As Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer Division, said: “The launch of a new release like this is a real event, and the massive surge in traffic shows the game’s amazing popularity. We build the BT network to be able to manage traffic surges like this with no negative impact, and we closely analyse the trends to ensure we can stay ahead of demand.”


Key Trends Observed by BT

* The green line is yesterday’s network traffic data, showing normal holiday behaviour until 9am where traffic rockets up 80% between 9am and 10am, driven by the 9am release of Fortnite Season 10, as gamers rush to get the newest version of the game and possibly join in the World Cup action.

* Red and blue lines from four and two weeks ago respectively all show typical network activity during school term time:

— Pre-commute peak driven by Facebook/YouTube, rising steadily though the day.

— This picks up significantly after school as kids do homework and socialise online.

— A further increase is seen as more people return home from work.

* The yellow line shows the first week of school holidays:

— Activity peaks further into the day than term time as families get up later during the school holidays.

— Internet traffic sees a 15% increase over an average day as more people are at home.

— The evening peak is slightly lower during the holiday period as families enjoy the break from normal routine and warmer weather.

* 8pm – 10pm are peak TV hours, with a main spike after 9pm. We see small spikes coinciding with ad breaks as viewers turn to social media to share their thoughts.

Just for some context, BT’s peak internet traffic in March 2019 was recorded as 13Tbps (Terabits per second), which was up from 10.4Tbps at roughly the same time last year (here). Sadly BT’s latest graph above neglects to include the traffic figures so we don’t know how much data was actually being thrown around.

Similar spikes tend to occur for major new iOS (Apple) and Microsoft Windows updates, among other things. Broadband providers are usually well prepared for such surges in demand.

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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.
Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. FullFibre says:

    I love seeing this sort of data, find it really interesting. Shame theree are no figures but still interesting.

    What I would love even more though is for them to fix the ping spikes when streaming video, they make gaming horrible to impossible.

    8 months people have been complaining about it, one person gave them the oportunity to fix it before they left and it was fixed. Some people have just switched ISP and the problem wasn’t present at all on the new ISP.

    Here are some threads on the BT forum all on the first page, there are loads more:


    It’s astonishing they would let this issue exist for so long, it’s like being back on 3Mb ADSL when we all had to take turns to use the connection, only difference is you don’t have to max the bandwidth to cause the issue, a very low bitrate stream still causes it.

    @Mark, an article highlighting this issue would be appreciated I’m sure from all those affected and getting knowhere for a solution from BT.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      I’m looking into this.

    2. FullFibre says:

      Glad to hear it Mark thanks.

  2. stuart glass says:

    Probably due to Ninja switching from Twitch to Mixer. I still consider Fortnite to be a dumb game which I despise because the community is so so toxic.

  3. captain cretin says:

    People still use BT??

    It must be the gamers parents fault; no self respecting gamer would use such an awful ISP otherwise.

    1. CarlT says:

      BT Retail’s latency and jitter seem pretty good to be honest. Your experience may be different but isn’t typical.

    2. Dan says:

      It depends what you mean by BT, the network run by Openreach is used by many ISP to provide ADSL/VDSL and not fibre/copper broadband services.

      However their QOS and core network latency are their own look out.

    3. Dan says:

      “now fibre/copper broadband services*, instead of ‘not’

    4. CarlT says:

      Specifically wrote BT Retail 🙂

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