The 69TB man — South Africa’s biggest data hog

South Africa’s fibre-to-the-home network traffic has continued to climb over the first half of 2021.

This is according to four prominent fibre ISPs who recently provided feedback to MyBroadband on data usage by their home fibre customers.

Cool Ideas, Cybersmart, Mweb, and RSAWEB all recorded significant increases in traffic during the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2020.

During June, the biggest bandwidth hog among these fibre ISPs was an RSAWEB customer on a 1Gbps line who consumed 69TB of data.

That amount of data is equal to about 6,845 4K movies, 172,500 HD sitcom episodes, or 1,380 AAA games.

Two others followed this user on RSAWEB’s network, each consuming more than 50TB of data in the same month.

RSAWEB said excluding these exceptional outliers, the demand per customer on its network had increased by about 20%.

“We observed a slight shift at the beginning of the year when people returned to work and school, but that has changed to the previous patterns with high demand during the late mornings which is sustained towards 22:00,” the ISP said.

Cool Ideas also provided MyBroadband with the usage statistics of its top three users for June.

Its biggest bandwidth hog was on a 200/100Mbps package on Openserve’s network and consumed 41TB in total, the vast majority being for download traffic.

The user was followed closely by another who had recorded just shy of 40TB in traffic and one who hit just over 38TB.

Cool Ideas said it also saw a definite increase in network traffic on average for the year to date compared to 2020.

The usage of the top three biggest bandwidth hogs from Cool Ideas and RSAWEB is summarised in the table below.

ISP Data usage
Cool Ideas 41TB
40TB
38TB
RSAWEB 69TB
57TB
51TB

Cybersmart did not divulge specific details around its top three biggest bandwidth users but said that they each also consumed multiple terabytes of data in June.

Mweb did not share any details around individual usage but said it had seen a significant increase in the average consumption per user, which was driven by changes in consumption behaviour, line speed increases, as well as the lockdown periods.

“We have seen about a 15-20% increase in overall consumption over this period,” Mweb said.

All the ISPs said that video streaming services like Netflix were the primary source of their traffic, while RSAWEB said file-sharing protocols also accounted for a large chunk of its usage.

“Of all the big content providers, Google, Facebook, and Netflix, by far the largest source of traffic is from the Netflix caches, with Google a close second but lagging by about 20% traffic-wise. Facebook is in third place at around half the traffic of those two,” Cybersmart said.

“The traffic has increased 230% over July 2020 on Netflix peering and caches,” it added.

“Real-time services remain the largest contributor to bandwidth consumption, with streaming services like Netflix, Youtube, and Showmax traffic accounting for the largest share,” Mweb said.

Now read: Fibre price war — Cheapest network operators in South Africa

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The 69TB man — South Africa’s biggest data hog