The ISP industry is already trying to get its collective brain round the impending “Olympic problem”. A great deal of planning went into ensuring that users had a great experience during the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa. It may be recalled that the UK was responsible for something like 21% of global streaming traffic during the weekday England afternoon match.
I am expecting the Olympics to take us to even greater heights, certainly in terms of actual bandwidth used if not in terms of percentages aka the football – there is likely to be a far more evenly spread demand due to the truly global and eclectic nature of these games.
This problem is near impossible to model. How many people will take the two weeks off and therefore not be in the office to use their internet connection? I imagine that it will be harder for consumer ISPs as even if you are at home watching the games on TV people have now got into the habit of also watching it on the internet/participating in twitter streams/keeping up with real time text inputs.
This is going to be an interesting subject and I’ll post the odd update as we get nearer the games. Note that in doing some cursory research on this I wondered about South Africa’s own internal internet usage during the World Cup.
A search for “internet bandwidth use in south africa during the world cup” yielded the following result:
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, 18 October 2010 — Due to the high demand for bandwidth and other Internet connectivity challenges, video from The Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization was delayed on Monday — but should be available soon. Technologists serving on the Congress staff have been working around the clock to resolve the issue.
‘This is an unprecedented level of Internet usage for the country of South Africa, even more than when the World Cup was here,’ explains Amy Donovan, Tech Squad Manager for the Congress. ‘We’re taking video of every single session and will be broadcasting it to the world as soon as our technical problems are solved.
This just goes to show that for some, unlike former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, football is not more important than life or death. I didn’t help me with Olympic traffic forecasts either:)