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UPDATE3 WorldCup Breaks Global Broadband Internet Traffic Record - UK ISPs Unharmed

Posted: 15th Jun, 2010 By: MarkJ
world cup 2010 internet traffic europe 15 juneThe 2010 Fifa World Cup has reportedly set a new world record for internet usage after Akamai, which delivers 20% of global online traffic, saw a significant peak last Friday and right over the weekend. Traffic to the top news websites peaked at noon Eastern Time (ET) with 12.1 million visitors per minute.

The previous record of 8.5 million had been set when Barack Obama won the USA presidential election in 2008. The internet was at its peak during the Mexico v South Africa game. However traffic remained heavy through the France v Uruguay match and hit 6.5 million in the afternoon, 130% above normal!

Traffic dropped back to 5.7 million for Saturday afternoon, near to when England played the USA in a rather dismal display of form and goal keeping failures, although this is still classed as "heavy". Akamai has since setup a fun real-time monitoring tool to help keep track of World Cup related internet usage.
Akamai Real-Time 2010 World Cup Internet Traffic Monitor
As for our humble UK broadband providers. Business ISP Timico said that viewing figures during the opening ceremony were up around 30% over normal online video viewing activity. BT informs us that they had a "top weekend, but a very busy Monday!" of internet usage and will furnish us with stats at a later date. Entanet were also unable to offer any specific stats but did provide a comment.

An Entanet spokesperson said:

"While it may be too early in the competition to say, so far we've not seen any measurable impact on bandwidth demand at Entanet from customers trying to watch World Cup coverage. As a unique event, the recent Election coverage had a far greater impact on daytime bandwidth demand than the football has.

That said, we're monitoring our network as we do every day and it will be interesting to see what impact the daytime England match on 23rd June has. Generally though we're happy that our management approach is working satisfactorily."

We have contacted several other UK ISPs for additional feedback and are still awaiting a reply. Generally speaking the impact upon internet providers appears, so far at least, to have been moderate. The key test will come this week when businesses could be affected by higher daytime traffic.

UPDATE 11:46am

Network statistics from Star's (UK business ISP and on-demand computing supplier) data centre also showed an increase on normal traffic level as workers followed their teams online. The graph below highlights that network traffic during the South Africa v Mexico opening match and yesterday’s Holland v Denmark and Japan v Cameroon matches showed two network traffic peaks of up to 18% above normal.

star uk isp worldcup traffic

John Adey, CEO for Star, said:

"By using advanced monitoring technologies we are able to pin point the link between network spikes and sporting and political events, to the degree where we can directly correlate network surges when British athletes like swimmer Rebecca Adlington and cyclist Chris Hoy were competing. The peaks of traffic for these gold medal contests were more than 30% above the norm.

A more recent event that saw a network spike of 22% occurred the day after the Election, when workers were watching as the electoral results from around the country were rolling in. We believe that the World Cup will be an even more important online event, with an anticipated 5 million adults watching the event online - 2.6 million of them whilst at work.

We anticipate a significant network spike of 40-50% on the 23rd June when England play Slovenia at 15.00hrs. The majority of us will no doubt be at work, and this also coincides with the second round of Andy Murray’s quest to win the Wimbledon crown."

Star claims that many of its business customers have contacted their customer service help line seeking advice on how to ensure that BBC iPlayer traffic doesn’t take priority over other business critical applications. They also have a WorldCup monitor.
Star's WorldCup Traffic Monitor
UPDATE 1:15pm

UK ISP Eclipse Internet informs us that traffic for Saturday was completely normal, even when England played the USA, which apparently falls in line with what they were expecting. However last Friday was a different matter, with total traffic for all protocols peaking at 5.33Gigabits per sec (Gbps) versus a normal peak of about 4.2-4.5Gbps.

eclipse worldcup uk 2010 internet traffic

People seem to be watching the games on the telly or in the pub when they have a choice. When they’re at work and can’t get to a TV is when Eclipse and most other UK ISPs expect to see the most demand.

UPDATE 16th June 2010

Star has very kindly sent us an updated chart showing the spikes of business UK broadband internet traffic from yesterday’s World Cup matches at 12.30pm and 3.00pm (daytime).

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