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Broadband Firms’ Extra Demand Due to Coronavirus is Not an Issue


Broadband companies in the UK say that the increased demand as millions of people work from home due to coronavirus is something they are able to cope with.

Internet service providers say that the network is able to handle the extra daytime demand as they have contingency plans in place for such an occurrence.

Work applications, and even video calls, should have no noticeable impact for users. This is despite the recent surge in the use of some traffic-intensive services worldwide as more and more people stay at home.

Mark Jackson, editor of ISP Review, said: "Nobody should expect broadband to crash or anything like that”, adding “that's not how these things work”.

"Some slowdown in speed during periods of truly heavy usage is possible. I'd expect this to be fairly limited, and that's true even in normal times".

According to Jackson, most broadband providers are set up to handle a sudden surge in traffic, but the impact could vary depending on the area.

Evenings usually see a demand on the system that is ten times greater than during the day. But Openreach, the company in charge of most of the infrastructure here in the UK, said that the network is already built in a way which can handle such a demand.

"As an example, the Liverpool versus Everton match, which was streamed live by Amazon Prime in December, drove significant peaks in traffic over our network without causing any major issues for our customers," an Openreach spokesperson told the BBC.

Howard Watson, chief technology officer for BT, said: "We have more than enough capacity in our UK broadband network to handle mass-scale homeworking.

"Even if the same heavy data traffic that we see each evening were to run throughout the daytime, there is still enough capacity for work applications to run simultaneously”.

TalkTalk said that its broadband networks "regularly experience peaks in demand" and that the provider was certain that any increase in the volume of traffic could be managed.

Meanwhile, Virgin Media said that it had taken measures to handle such an occurrence, but as yet had not seen "any significant network traffic spikes".

And Vodafone says that they experienced "record levels of internet traffic" over the Christmas period as football matches were live-streamed, but that the network had no problem handling the extra usage.

A spokesperson for Vodafone said that the company "moves capacity around" whenever there is a significant number of users staying indoors, adding "we get to put this to the test every time it snows in the UK”.

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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