Foxtel choked on 65,000 new sign-ups to watch Game of Thrones

Authentication system
couldn't handle the load

Australian pay TV broadcaster Foxtel has explained why it couldn't broadcast the new season Game of Thrones without trouble: more than 60,000 new subscribers swamped its systems.

Australian viewers hit the ceiling on Monday local time after trying to be first-to-see the opening episode of season seven when a cascade of crashes rippled around the world.

On Monday the company apologised for the “technical glitches” that crashed its streaming service Foxtel Now and noted that Game of Thrones' maker, HBO also experienced glitches in the United States and Latin America.

Come Tuesday Foxtel 'fessed up and fingered its authentication system as the culprit in this statement.

“The combination of new foxtel now customers signing up and existing customers upgrading to get the Drama Pack so they could watch the show, put unprecedented pressure on our technical operations. Foxtel’s Identity Management System (IDM), which verifies customers’ entitlement to view content, which usually handles around 5,000 processes a day was hit with 70,000 transactions in just a few hours.”

With the authentication server hosed, Foxtel was unable to make sure that viewers logging in were entitled to watch Game of Thrones, and “We are unable to say exactly how many customers were affected because the system is unable to separately identify customers who have a problem logging in but later successfully manage to do so”.

Users are sceptical about the claim that GoT caused “unprecedented” demand. As one poster to Foxtel's original statement noted, “You will see this isn't the first time GoT has caused this”, referring to outages at HBO during the 2014 and 2016 season launches. ®


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