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Surfers Go Online For Christmas 2003
By: MarkJ - 28 December, 2003 (10:33 AM)

The London Internet Exchange (LINX), which handles more than 90% of the UK's Internet traffic, states that Christmas Internet traffic saw a 50% boost over the same period last year:


Britons went 'on-line' in unprecedented numbers this Christmas according to figures just released by the London Internet Exchange (LINX) which handles more than 90 per cent of the UK's Internet traffic. Christmas gifts and greetings, as well as routine business use of the Internet and the increasing internationalisation of the medium, all contributed to the rise in traffic.

The flow of Internet traffic through LINX facilities peaked at around 25 Gbit/second on Boxing Day and at over 22 Gbit/second on Christmas Day itself. This is more than 50 per cent higher than the level of the same period last year when the Boxing Day peak was 17 Gbit/second and the Christmas Day peak 15 Gbit/second.

Peak figures for Christmas 2001 were around 9 Gbit/second on Boxing Day and 8 Gbit/second on Christmas Day - so traffic this year is about three times the level of just two years ago.

"The trend for Christmas traffic has reflected that of the past few weeks," said LINX sales and marketing manager Vanessa Evans. "Traffic in November and December has been 50 per cent above the level of the same period in 2002.

Growth has not been steady throughout the year, however, and the rate of increase over the few weeks prior to Christmas has been quite phenomenal while traffic levels over the summer remained relatively static.

It is impossible to tell from the traffic figures what exactly people were doing on the Internet, either in the run-up to Christmas or over the holiday itself. However, there has undoubtedly been a marked increase in on-line shopping, with some analysts reporting on-line sales in November 2003 over 40 per cent higher than in November 2002.

Over the holiday period itself, people may have been sending e-mails to relatives overseas or logging onto websites. There were probably also many people using Christmas gifts - such as Internet-based games - for the first time.

Almost as interesting as the figures for the holiday period is the fact that the gap between traffic figures for Christmas Day and an ordinary working day is narrowing in percentage terms.

This partly reflects the increasing amount of automated Internet traffic which continues regardless of the holiday and partly the increasing internationalisation of the Internet, with many non-Christian countries now having considerable Internet use. In the early days of the medium the effect on Internet traffic of a USA holiday period was considerable. Now the Internet is a truly international medium.

In early December LINX was typically handling peak weekday traffic flows of around 32 Gbit/second and weekend peak traffic flows of 28 Gbit/second.

LINX is a mutual organisation owned by 140 Internet service providers (ISPs) and content delivery service providers (CDSPs) which connect their networks through LINX facilities.

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