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TalkTalk Reports Broadband Traffic Surged 50% in 2020


Broadband provider TalkTalk has reported that average household internet usage on its network rose by 50% this year, as the coronavirus crisis “accelerated the importance of home connectivity.”

Internet traffic was up in all areas of the UK, but some regions saw larger year on year increases. Households in Halifax used 58% more internet data in 2020 than in 2019, while those in Hull used 53% more.

The coronavirus crisis also lured notoriously internet-shy seniors online more often, and into data-intensive activities like HD video streaming and video calling. Over 75s saw the steepest rise in internet use of all age groups, using 52% more data this year than last.

We’ve become so internet mad (out of necessity) this year, TalkTalk’s network has repeatedly broken traffic records, most recently last Wednesday, 16 December, when users streaming football on Amazon Prime and downloading the latest update for Call of Duty took traffic to 6.73Tbps (terabits per second).

That shattered a record set just ten days before, on Sunday, 6 December, when TalkTalk subscribers tuning into the Liverpool Vs. Wolves Premier League match and watching films on various streaming sites took traffic to 7.23Tbps.

TalkTalk is expecting further traffic peaks over the holiday.

Gary Steen, managing director of technology at TalkTalk, said: “2020 has accelerated the digital-first lifestyle and the increase in usage we’ve seen this year is just the beginning. 

“We expect additional network peaks to happen throughout the Christmas period—particularly on Boxing Day, as live football coupled with new devices being connected to the internet and larger gaming downloads driving up demand.”

And although we're leaving the house less often, we're also using our mobile devices and their data plans to get online. Three has reported a 50% rise in traffic on its mobile network between January and October. Three has positioned itself as the network for data bingers and says its customers use 3.5 times the industry average. As of October, that's 15GB per customer per month, on Three's 4G and fledgeling 5G networks.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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