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Virgin Media O2 See UK Internet Traffic Dip for Euro 2020 Final

Tuesday, Jul 13th, 2021 (8:17 am) - Score 888
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Cable broadband ISP Virgin Media (VMO2) reported a sharp decrease in internet traffic during England’s Euro 2020 football final against Italy on Sunday, with customers downloading 28% less than at the same time last week. Likewise, mobile operator O2 reported “no significant rise” in data usage.

A big part of the reason for this is likely to be because the game occurred on a Sunday (i.e. people were off work) and most of those viewing will have chosen to do so via a traditional TV, thus there wasn’t really a lot of point in streaming it online.

Suffice to say that other games drew significantly more traffic on O2’s mobile (mobile broadband) network, partly because many of them occurred during the working week, and we don’t all work “normal” hours (i.e. streaming can be handy). Not to mention that such events tend to draw increased activity on social media.

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Nevertheless, the Euro 2020 final failed to beat the current record of the all-England Champions League final in May 2021 between Manchester City and Chelsea on O2’s network. Otherwise, England’s last 16 clash with Germany took second place, with huge data traffic levels, but interestingly a 30% drop in voice calls on the mobile network as fans were glued to their screens. Meanwhile, third place went to England’s semi-final win over Denmark.

By comparison, Virgin Media saw a dip in broadband usage during the games, as fans preferred to focus on the live TV action. The biggest traffic drop of 28%, below the previous week, was seen during the Euro 2020 final, although there was a 13% upstream surge during the half-time break and during extra time as people shared the experience online.

Jeanie York, CTO of VMO2, said:

“Euro 2020 truly captured the nation’s hearts and minds and our digital habits throughout the tournament reflect that. While we saw a huge surge in O2 mobile usage and England matches were watched by millions on Virgin TV, broadband traffic dipped as fans logged off to focus on the football. In one way or another, our products and services have given England fans the connectivity they needed to feel closer to the action.”

Separately, VMO2 added that they helped to mitigate “capacity issues” around the huge demand on their mobile network at Wembley Stadium, as 60,000 fans packed the venue and many more thousands lined the surrounding streets. A dedicated temporary radio site was installed to boost capacity and support the existing network infrastructure.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
4 Responses
  1. Avatar photo john says:

    “thus there wasn’t really a lot of point in streaming it online.”

    Not sure I would agree, BBC iPlayer is the only option is you want to watch in 4K HDR, with side benefit of much higher bitrate than Freeview/standard HD streams. Also useful if you don’t have an aerial or dish in your house.

    1. Mark-Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      True, although the catch there is broadcast lag.

  2. Avatar photo Spurple says:

    I tried to stream in UHD on iPlayer and they told me they couldn’t. It looks like they have a limit on number of concurrent UHD streams.

    I was only able to get in at half time, potentially took someone’s spot 🙂

    1. Avatar photo Roger_Gooner says:

      I think that there has always been a limit on the number of concurrent live UHD streams. The live streams need a lot more bandwidth than those delivered on demand.

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