Massive boost in South African Netflix traffic due to coronavirus

South African ISP Cool Ideas said it has seen a major increase in traffic on its network as a side-effect of the coronavirus outbreak.

On 15 March, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster and implemented urgent restrictions to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in South Africa.

These included international travel bans and the prohibition of large gatherings. The next day, many companies asked their employees to work from home.

This increase in the number of people working from home and self-isolating has resulted in a big increase in Internet traffic.

Big traffic spike

In the two days following Ramaphosa’s announcement, Cool Ideas said it saw a large spike in Netflix usage across its network.

“We saw quite a big spike in Netflix usage over the last two nights since the announcement from our President,” said Cool Ideas co-owner Paul Butschi.

Sunday is usually the biggest day for Internet traffic on the Cool Ideas network, but the ISP said that as of Wednesday its Netflix usage was peaking at 32% higher than Sunday.

Daytime Internet usage has also increased dramatically due to self-isolation and people working from home, with traffic on the network doubling during working hours.

“All other daytime traffic use (6:00 to 17:00) is up around 100%, which is an indication of the number of people now working from home,” Butschi said.

Netflix data traffic on the Cool Ideas network is shown below, clearly illustrating the spike in traffic following President Ramaphosa’s announcement.

Click on the image below to view the full-size graph.

Netflix Usage

Global trends

The data provided by Cool Ideas echoes the findings of researchers around the world who noted an increase in the usage of Netflix and other streaming services due to self-isolation.

Installations of the Netflix app have increased by 34% and 57% in Italy as the coronavirus outbreak worsens in these regions. Italy has the second-most coronavirus cases worldwide, after China.

“While video streaming is far from the most important thing on the world agenda, it is an industry that indirectly will see a major shift due to the crisis,” said Sean Doherty, CEO of the research firm Wurl.

Additionally, the amount of time people spend streaming has increased by 20% worldwide – including by more than 40% in Austria, where public gatherings of more than five people are prohibited.

Streaming services have not yet commented on any increase in traffic, but data supplied by ISPs and researchers have reported the same trend globally.

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Massive boost in South African Netflix traffic due to coronavirus