UK Web traffic drops as England triumph

Internet traffic lost out as Britons turned to their televisions to watch England's progress in the World Cup

UK Internet traffic plunged by 6 percent last Friday afternoon as football-loving Internet users downed keyboards and reached for the remote control, and in many cases the bottle opener as well.

The London Internet Exchange (LINX), which handles around 96 percent of the UK's Internet traffic, has reported that data traffic fell sharply during England's vital World Cup clash with Argentina, which kicked off at 12.30 p.m. BST.

During the early afternoon last Wednesday and Thursday -- the only other working days in the UK last week -- LINX handled an average of 17.6 gigabits of data each second. During Friday's soccer match, though, UK data traffic fell by over 1 gigabit per second.

"It is assumed that this was a result of England supporters turning away from their computer screens to TV in order to watch England beat Argentina 1-0 in the World Cup," a LINX spokesman told ZDNet UK on Monday.

The drop is evidence that World Cup sites and text-based alert services are all right in their place, but have not come close to displacing the TV from the hearts of sports fans.

The only similar drop in traffic detected by LINX occurred on 11 September, when UK Internet traffic also fell by around 1 gigabit per second as people turned to TVs and radios. That drop was the equivalent of a 10 percent decrease, though, as Internet traffic through LINX was significantly less last autumn than it is today.

LINX is the largest Internet exchange point in Europe, and is owned by over 100 Internet Service Providers and Web content creators.

Much of the UK came to a standstill last Friday lunchtime as firms allowed workers time off to watch the England team perform.

For everything Internet-related, from the latest legal and policy-related news, to domain name updates, see ZDNet UK's Internet News Section.

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Go to the ZDNet news forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom.