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TalkTalk Reports Traffic Surge on First Night of Second Lockdown


Internet provider TalkTalk saw a traffic spike on Thursday, 5 November, the first night of the second coronavirus lockdown in England.

Normally broadband traffic might dip on Guy Fawkes night as Britons head to bonfires and fireworks displays. But with celebrations scrapped and people in England settling in for another dreary lockdown of Netflix marathons and video gaming, traffic on TalkTalk’s network reached 6.46Tbps (Terabits per second) at 9:10 pm on Thursday.

The spike was higher than the 5.45Tbps surge registered by the budget ISP on the first day of the first lockdown in March when internet traffic was boosted by a Manchester City v Real Madrid football game. The higher spike in November might be attributed to the colder, darker weather or maybe to Britons who have long tired of other lockdown distractions and took straight to the internet.

However, this isn’t the highest demand for data TalkTalk has ever seen on its network. That came on Sunday 23 August, when customers trying to catch the Champions League final drove traffic to 6.488Tbps.

No other ISP registered similar traffic spikes on Thursday night, ISPreview reports.

The coronavirus crisis has driven high volumes across all broadband networks this year, as we swap offices for Zoom meetings and nights out for box sets. In mid-March, before the first lockdown even began, TalkTalk was reporting a 20% rise in its daytime network traffic as people began working from home.

But our appetite for data has been on a steady incline for years, regularly rising by a third each year.

ISPs have assured us they can easily accommodate higher volumes of traffic, during this lockdown and in the future, no matter how many of us try to stream content on iPlayer at the same time.

Gary Steen, managing director of Technology and Security at TalkTalk, said: “One of the lessons from the lockdowns we’re living through this year is that the demand for data is continuing to rise. We have been investing significantly in our network over the years to optimise both speeds and capacity and we are very well prepared for surges in demand just like this, during lockdown and in the future.

“All our packages are totally unlimited, which means there aren’t any usage caps, extra charges or speed reductions – even at peak times. So our customers can stream as much as they want, for as long as they want, whenever they want.”

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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