The UK’s leading broadband companies have promised to keep up with unprecedented demand, with more people than ever working from home following the government’s Coronavirus guidelines.
Offices have been forced to close their doors in the hope of keeping people apart to ‘flatten the curve’ and stymie the spread of COVID-19. However, this has led to many people having to work from home, often undertaking data-intensive activities such as video calls which significantly increase demand on broadband providers.
However, the UK’s home workers have been advised not to worry, with measures having been put in place to ensure the broadband companies continue to offer their services without issue.
In fact, the broadband providers were keen to note that they haven’t actually had to introduce new measures to deal with these increases, as action was already taken many months ago just in case such an issue arose.
Openreach, which runs much of the UK’s infrastructure, noted that its network was built with peaks in mind, to ensure it could handle any capacity issues thrown its way. As it happens, this peak is just one of many that have taken place (and been handled) in recent months. Another was the Liverpool football derby over Christmas, which was streamed live on Amazon Prime and drove a huge spike in traffic over a short period of time.
Openreach’s position was echoed by phone and broadband provider TalkTalk, which said its services “regularly experience peaks in demand” – but without a drop in service.
Meanwhile, BT’s chief technology officer Howard Watson told the BBC: “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.”
Of course, it’s not all work and no play, as online games have also seen a marked increase in traffic. The world’s largest PC gaming platform Steam broke a record on Sunday 22 March, when more than 20 million users were logged on concurrently.
With limits on how much people are allowed to go outside,
this number could well increase further over the coming weeks, but it’s
comforting to know the broadband infrastructure has been built to cope.