The FIFA World Cup 2014 is big business, not only in terms of the revenue generated, but also in terms of the internet traffic that it creates. While sports fans are tweeting about their team’s win, or lamenting their loss on Twitter, a lot of spectators are also streaming the matches live over the internet.
According to Cisco, the combined activities of viewing highlights and live coverage of the event is set to produce 4.3 exabytes (EB) of internet traffic, which is three times the amount that host nation Brazil generates in a month. An exabyte is a quintillion bytes, or a billion gigabytes. To add on to that, Cisco predicts that internet traffic generated from the fans in the stadiums are set to surpass the average busy-hour traffic from all 94 million smartphones in Brazil. In 2011, it was estimated that sum total of every bit of data ever produced was 295EB, which had risen to four zettabytes by the end of 2013. A zettabyte is a thousand exabytes.
For further context, when the SKA radio telescope currently being constructed in the Karoo is completed, it’s expected to produce one exabyte of data every four days.
While the numbers seem pretty larger, the company is of the opinion that it will become the norm in just a few years as connectivity becomes more prevalent across the world.
“To place the World Cup in context, global IP traffic is expected to reach 132 exabytes per month by 2018, which is the equivalent to 8.8 billion screens streaming the FIFA World Cup final game in Ultra-HD/4K at the same time, or 5.5 billion people binge-watching Game of Thrones Season 4 via video-on-demand in HD,” they said in a press statement.
For those that don’t watch Game of Thrones (and you should), it is the same as 940 quadrillion text messages being sent or 4.5 trillion YouTube clips being watched.
In a South African context, Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicts that IP traffic will grow four-fold from 2013 to 2018, while Internet traffic will grow 4.6-fold in the same time.
For mobile data, the traffic is set to increase by eight times at a compound annual growth rate of 53%, while there will be 147.7 million networked devices in 2018. In 2013 there was estimated to be only 92.4 million networked units.
South Africa is also forecast to generate 100 gigabytes of data per month in 2018 from 762,885 Internet households.