Peak time for being on the internet in Britain is 21:00 on Wednesdays, while 04:45 on weekdays is the quietest time, according to new research

The research, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has started analysing internet traffic volume for the first time, using publicly available data from one of Britain's largest internet exchanges.

The study made use of data from the London Internet Exchange (Linx), which connects internet service providers and content delivery networks.

It operates exchanges in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Manchester, but some of the data was extrapolated from the London area alone.

While the ONS said it was still working on the statistics, it found that internet traffic in the UK increases in winter and decreases in summer.

Other insights included that traffic:

  • falls between 16:00 and 18:00 with its lowest point at 18:00 on weekdays (not weekends)
    is quietest between 02:00 and 07:00
  • peaks at 21:00 on weekdays, particularly midweek
  • is generally quieter at weekends and bank holidays
  • peaks at 13:00 during weekends
  • Saturday night is lowest data flow

The ONS made comparisons with other data such as road traffic information - for example, matching an increase in traffic on the M25 motorway around London during the time that internet data traffic was lower, as people commuted home after work.

"Insights on large-scale events such as adverse weather and sports could potentially help to provide measurements of economic impact over time," wrote Philip Stubbings, lead data scientist at the ONS Data Science Campus.

Read more about the research here