Sport drives Openreach broadband usage to more than double in 2020 | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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With Boxing Day 2020 becoming the busiest day ever for the BT broadband provision firm, UK broadband usage more than doubled in 2020 with 50,000 petabytes (PBytes) of data being consumed across the country, compared with around 22,000 PBytes a year earlier according to traffic data released by Openreach.
openreach engineer 30Dec2020
The company offers the UK’s largest broadband network, used by customers of BT, Plusnet, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen in the UK, and it also revealed that during the year the daily record for broadband use has been broken 15 times, with the average property connected to Openreach’s fibre networks using around 3,000 GBytes of data, or around 9 GBytes per day. This said the company was the equivalent of between two and three HD movies being streamed in every house in the country, every day.

Aiming to attribute drivers for the big jump in broadband usage, Openreach noted the increase in home working and video conferencing due to the Coronavirus pandemic, more live sports being screened online by the likes of Amazon Prime Video, and large updates to PlayStation and Xbox games consoles, including popular gaming titles such as Call of Duty.

The data revealed that the busiest single day for the UK’s broadband was Boxing Day, Saturday 26 December 2020, when a record 210 PBytes was consumed across Openreach’s fibre networks. On that day, a mix of video calls as well as TV streaming and gaming downloads were all contributing factors. The previous record breaking day, Saturday 14 November, came when Amazon Prime Video screened two live Autumn Nations Cup rugby matches, with Openreach’s network traffic charts showing UK broadband usage surging just before the first of the two games approached kick-off. During the first lockdown beginning March 2020, Openreach said that it very quickly saw about a 30% increase in daytime broadband use compared with pre-Coronavirus times, mainly due to a huge increase in home-working and, particularly during the first lockdown, home-schooling.

Reflecting on the year for the company he described as a year unlike any other, Openreach chief technology and information officer Colin Lees said that Covid-19 played a major part in the huge jump in data consumption which he stressed had been dealt with by the firm’s infrastructure.

“We know more businesses asked their employees to work from home throughout most of 2020, so connecting remotely has been and continues to be important for everyone,” he said. “January and February saw data consumption at around 2,700 PBytes per month - before the pandemic brought about a big increase – with most months at more than 4,000 PBytes - for the rest of the year. In terms of capacity, our network has coped well during the pandemic. We have a team of tech experts working hard behind-the scenes to make sure there’s enough network capacity for every eventuality. They’re constantly preparing for things such as major retail events like Black Friday or the release of the latest big ticket TV and film titles on streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.”