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Broadband ISPs Report UK Internet Traffic Surge on Game Releases

Thursday, Aug 31st, 2023 (11:23 am) - Score 1,472
Internet traffic uk broadband surge chart

Broadband ISPs from across the industry have said that they saw a UK internet traffic surge yesterday (30th August 2023), which appears to have been driven by the release of both the latest ‘Call of Duty‘ Season 05 Reloaded update and the start of preloading for Bethesda’s hotly anticipated game ‘Starfield‘.

Some smaller network operators reported anecdotal feedback, which suggested that usage was spiking around 20-25% over their usual peaks. Most providers said that the activity reached its peak around 5-6pm, although usage was generally high across most of the afternoon and evening period. The peaks here weren’t quite enough to break some recently set records, but it could be said that the impact lasted for longer than those events (i.e. total data usage for the day).

NOTE: ISPs use sophisticated Content Delivery Networks (CDN) and systems to manage the load from such events, which caches popular content closer in the network to users (i.e. improves performance without adding strain, which also keeps costs down).

The file size of the new Season 05 Reloaded update for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II and Call of Duty: Warzone for Steam (PC) users is 51.5GB (GigaBytes), although this will differ between other platforms (e.g. PlayStation and Xbox consoles). Similarly, Starfield was reported as clocking in at up to around 120GB, although our own preload seemed to be 86GB. Some smaller game updates (e.g. DOTA2) were also released yesterday.

A similar surge can also be seen by viewing yesterday’s aggregated traffic data from the London Internet Exchange (LINX), which handles a key chunk of UK and global data traffic through their switches via around a thousand members (broadband ISPs, mobile operators etc.). LINX does not provide a complete overview of the internet traffic flow from all ISPs, but they do give a useful indication of how much extra traffic is flowing around when compared with normal conditions.

Interestingly, LINX peaked at around 8pm, when it hit 7.83Tbps (Terabits per second) – not quite a record, although they then suffered a sizeable drop in traffic, and we’re unsure whether that was due to a network fault or just a loss of monitoring. As such, it’s possible they could have gone higher than 7.83Tbps, and we just can’t see that. But once again, the persistence of that high traffic load was very notable across the day.

LINX Traffic (Aggregated) – 24th to 30th August 2023

LINX-30th-August-2023-Traffic

Demand for data is constantly rising and broadband connections are forever getting faster, thus new peaks of usage are being set all the time by every ISP. Ofcom’s last Connected Nations 2022 study noted that the average monthly data volume per household on fixed broadband connections increased over the past year to 482GB (up by just 6.4% in the year).

We should add that video games weren’t the only thing driving network usage yesterday. The release of the latest Star Wars mini TV series episode for Ahsoka on Disney+ might have also had a small role to play.

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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
6 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Andrew says:

    In other news: UK reports mass uptick in public transport use during weekdays between 7am and 7pm

    1. Avatar photo BTMan says:

      nooo really? Get outta TOWN!

  2. Avatar photo BTMan says:

    I was downloading the new Indian Jones film at that time in 4K which was 59GB. I hope I helped towards that too 🙂

    1. Avatar photo Andrew says:

      I was re-downloading all 13 seasons of the 2005 remake of Dr WHo last night, 50GB a season. I hope I helped with those numbers

    2. Avatar photo BTMan says:

      Good call – Frickin love that TV series 🙂

  3. Avatar photo XGS says:

    My usage was decidedly average last night so adding not a lot extra. A 1080p stream for an hour and a half, mini-me on Discord video calls, some browsing, that’s about it.

    Little contribution from our household, maybe averaging 10 Mbit/s across peak times. Higher than average but not making a dent in anyone’s capacity.

    Might get Starfield once it’s patched some more 🙂

Comments are closed

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