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BT and EE See UK Rise in Christmas Home Broadband ISP Traffic

Tuesday, Jan 2nd, 2024 (7:28 am) - Score 2,320

Information supplied by BT and EE to ISPreview has revealed that customers on their fixed broadband ISP network delivered a modest increase in internet traffic over Christmas, but no new records were set. Christmas Day itself saw data traffic peak at 19.57Tbps (Terabits per second), which is up by 7.23% from 18.25Tbps last year.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are traditionally fairly quiet periods for fixed line data usage, which is because many people prefer to spend their time with family and a lot of businesses remain closed. But this is usually reversed on Boxing Day, when more time is spent playing with new internet-connected gadgets (many of which need software updates after being connected) and going online to shop or stream football matches etc.

NOTE: 1 Terabit is equal to 1,000 Gigabits (Gb) or 1,000,000 Megabits (Mb). In addition, 1 PetaByte is equal to 1,000 TeraBytes (TB) or 1,000,000 GigaBytes (GB). The BT / EE data excludes mobile traffic.

The results for this year follow that historic trend, with broadband traffic on Christmas Eve also peaking at a slightly lower level of 18.50Tbps (up by 3.58% from 17.86Tbps last year). By comparison, Boxing Day saw traffic peak at 25.52Tbps, which is up by 9.62% on last year (23.28Tbps), and the total volume of data consumed by customers across that same day was 147.8PB (PetaBytes).

However, when looking just outside the traditional three days of Christmas, traffic peaked at 26.73Tbps on 27th December 2023 (total volume of 143PB) and 26.93Tbps on 28th (total volume of 137.7PB). Both of which technically occurred over normal working days, albeit during a traditional holiday week for many people.

Christmas Fixed Broadband Traffic History (BT/EE)

  2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
  Peak (tbps) Peak (tbps) Peak (tbps) Peak (tbps) Peak (tbps)
Christmas Eve 10.01 15.22 15.78 17.86 18.50
Christmas Day 10.57 15.67 16.95 18.25 19.57
Boxing Day 16.46 19.08 18.72 23.28 25.52

Demand for data is of course constantly rising and home broadband connections are forever getting faster, thus new peaks of usage are being set all the time by every ISP.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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11 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Bg Dave says:

    Not surprising giving the dreadful programming on the Public Service TV channels this year (which just keeps getting worse and worse). I expect people were running to the sanctuary of Netflix and Amazon Prime.

    1. Avatar photo Pepstar says:

      But don’t forget people on the traditional linear channels are encouraged to use streaming services like iPlayer, ITVX and whatever Channel4 are calling their steaming service this week.

      So that will account for at least some extra traffic as well.

    2. Avatar photo XGS says:

      There were four Premier League games on Amazon that would’ve drawn in some traffic.

      The dross is, sadly, what people apparently want to see. We may disagree with that, what TV viewing I did was binge watching Taskmaster on Channel 4’s VoD service, but a couple of shows were watched live.

      Constant bloat of firmware and software updates will drive load continuously even if nothing revolutionary is happening: seen the price of a 4 TB NVMe drive recently?

      No need to save RAM writing efficient code when you can in theory load it quite a few GB/sec from a drive costing about £50 a TB.

      For games 4k texture packs, unless you’re Bethesda, likewise massive. If you are Bethesda modders will do it for you so it still gets downloaded eventually.

      The ongoing swing from physical media to digital download of games continues, too. Steam, GoG, the various publishers’ launchers/platforms, XBox, PlayStation and to a lesser extent Nintendo stores. Heck some Switch games aren’t even downloaded, they’re streamed.

    3. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      In my opinion, Netflix (mainly American dross and UK catalogue very poor compared to US Netflix) and mostly old films on Prime. I have both but rarely use them. I’d rather healthy UK broadcasters any day. The trouble is, advertising not good due to economy for ITV/C4/C5 and the BBC hampered by the Tories and some misinformation as they want to ultimately flog it off with its vast archive. Now, this isn’t a cue for the nut jobs about license fee who want something for nothing. Those nut jobs jump on any story to promote their agenda. The streamers don’t have to pay for SAT and Freeview distribution costs either.

      This is another news story like VM’s recent one, to prepare customers for a price hike quoting investment in their network and increased demand. This is the real story here…

    4. Avatar photo XGS says:

      Operators put out stories about bursts of demand all the time. Means nothing. They’ll increase prices whether data consumption is rising or not.

    5. Avatar photo anonymous says:

      XGs, I agree but this is the public story in the hope people read (as newspapers also report on this type of story online just this site is usually first) and then accept a price hike more easily. They would quote demand and investment else why else peddle out the story….who actually cares about their traffic has gone up in the public realm…..

    6. Avatar photo NE555 says:

      > and whatever Channel4 are calling their steaming service this week

      I think it’s “4-play”. Or at least, it should be 🙂

  2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    What a shock, traffic rises when kids are home from Schools, people have more days off from work. Also, shocked that traffic rose on Christmas Day, when a lot of products these days rely on being online, even if the data they take is small, it all adds up. My great niece had a Toniebox for Christmas. My Great Nephew had a gaming computer for Christmas, so again data.

    Then people may sit down in the evening and watch something on streaming channels and I don’t blame them looking at what the main channels offered.

  3. Avatar photo RR-the-it-guy says:

    Virgin media had a local area SNR fault over Christmas and was dropping in and out every few seconds so had to use the backup of 5G and deployed a directional antenna in a family members attic to help them out.
    Let’s just say we were getting over 100Mbps. Down an the lowest upload was 10Mbps which is excellent considering all things.

  4. Avatar photo Sam Perry says:

    Anyone on BT know if they are dishing these routers out yet?

    1. Avatar photo Fibre Scriber says:

      BT’s Smart Hub 2 has been rebranded and put in an EE case, since October. A tear down found almost no difference to the circuit board. the model number is SH20A, people I know and re-contracting have been receiving it since November. The top off the range model is called the Smart Hub Plus, SH31B, it has Wi-Fi 6, and also branded as EE. I believe this model is for customers taking high speed service including the new 1.6 gig. The SH20A has what would be thought of as ventilation holes in the bottom front, but these turn out to be only part of the design. Both models have an indented EE logo in the middle of the case.
      Hope this is of assistance.

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