Preliminary data shows live news streaming traffic peaked at approximately 18 Tbps on Akamai's Intelligent Edge platform during coverage of the U.S. Presidential Election on November 3rd. That's roughly 5X greater than traffic on a typical day and more than double the 7.5 Tbps peak we observed during the 2016 Election night, which set a record at the time for the largest single news event that Akamai delivered. Streaming traffic gradually increased over the course of the evening and peaked just after midnight Eastern Time before dropping off.
The marked increase in traffic between 2016 and 2020 is due to a number of factors, not the least of which is the intense interest in this year's election. Also, more consumers than ever are streaming video, a trend that's gained even greater momentum this year because of pandemic-related safety measures that are keeping people at home. Finally, not only are more people streaming video; they're enjoying higher levels of picture quality compared to four years ago, which is delivered at higher bitrates - meaning more data.
Harish Menon is Senior Director - Global Broadcast Operations & Customer Events at Akamai. He leads the efforts to define strategy and provides executive leadership to Global Broadcast Operations and Customer Event teams at Akamai and is responsible for flawless execution and management of content delivery across Akamai's top customers.