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Openreach shares Covid-19 UK network traffic report

by Mark Tyson on 29 April 2020, 12:11

Tags: British Telecom (LON:BT.A)

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We have seen various organisations around the globe make changes to their internet-based businesses since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The load on broadband connectivity is expected to be greater than ever, as more people rely on it for entertainment, communications, and for work. Simultaneously, governments worldwide have been doing things to keep mobile and fixed broadband connections running as best as they can, while populations are in lockdown.

Here in the UK we have seen popular internet portals and services, many to do with video streaming and online gaming, step down the default data demands on their side. Meanwhile, the likes of Ofcom has been working with UK ISPs and mobile networks to make sure people aren't bothered by data caps, bill demands, and so on. Wouldn't it be interesting if we could see a snapshot of the state of play and see the demands and how broadband is coping in the UK at this time?

Thanks to ISP Review, we now have some pre- and post- lockdown comparison data from Openreach to ponder over. Remember, Openreach is one of the biggest connectivity suppliers in the UK, behind lots of fixed line ISPs with the major exception of Virgin Media. Openreach provided some regional data sets to ISP Review showing data use before and after lockdown in PetaBytes (1PB = 1,000TB).

Across various regions of the UK the average amount of data traffic has increased 24 per cent since before the lockdown in the UK to the most recent week. Importantly, ISP Review notes that the current state of demand seems to be pretty stable - so if networks are operating satisfactorily now, they should continue to do so.

In my region, the North West of England, network traffic for w/c 24th Feb was about 76PB. Currently (w/c 20th April) it seems to have stabilised at 92PB, that's a 20.9 per cent increase we can probably put largely at the door of the pandemic lockdown effect. The biggest jump in demand seen is in London, which isn't a surprise. The capital region has seen a 28.6 per cent rise in network traffic and the most recent figure for the region is 112PB.

Last but not least, ISP Review has a reassuring statement from Openreach about coping with the extra load. "We're not experiencing any issues and we don't anticipate any," asserted the network operator.

Do any HEXUS readers have any (mobile/fixed) broadband issues to report, that they think are due to the increased demand?

HEXUS Forums :: 6 Comments

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Only had a few hiccups with streaming services like iplayer and netflix being slow and a few buffer hiccups
Mine's been fine, but we're not exactly a high demand line…
Connections been fine (touch wood) as usual however some sites I visit have been ‘slower’ to transfer stuff and in some cases the video quality is slightly (enough to notice imo) lower too.

So like usual, it's the infrastructure at the server end which is the issue, not my connection…
Not had an issues myself. Been amazed how my wife and I can both work from home on a 20mbps line. Still hoping this is a wake up call to speed up FTTH as I'm getting fed up with FTTC getting slower and slower (my line use to be 30mbps 7 years ago when we first went FTTC).
Mines been fine since working at home also. Know a few people that have had issues but mainly been fairly minor.