The easing of lockdown measures is only having a limited impact on the increased levels of data consumption since restrictions began, according to new figures from Virgin Media.
Restrictions on movement and activity mean that many people are using their home connections for work, education, entertainment and communication with friends and family that they are physically prevented from seeing.
The cable network provider says customers are, on average, consuming an additional 3.4GB of data every compared to pre-lockdown levels. Over the course of the lockdown period, this amounts to an additional 325GB of data.
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Virgin Media data use
Upload traffic has also surged due to increased demand for productivity tools, online gaming and video call software. The average Virgin Media subscriber now uploads an additional 3.7GB of data each week.
There are some regional variations. London saw data consumption rise by a fifth, while Wales increased by just 10 per cent. Northern Ireland saw the biggest change in upload traffic, with peak data up 58 per cent, while Wales saw the lowest increase.
Overall, April was the busiest month on record for Virgin Media’s network, with May only fractionally behind. Based on weekly consumption, the first week of lockdown was the busiest but there hasn’t been a significant drop despite the government easing social distancing guidelines and encouraging more industries to return to work where possible.
“Despite a surge in demand as people have relied on their broadband more than ever, our network has proved itself reliable and resilient and helped keep people connected to loved ones, work and entertainment,” said Jeanie York, Virgin Media CTIO. “This is a new dawn for broadband usage; the way people use their connectivity has irrevocably changed and we expect Covid-19 will have a lasting impact on patterns of data consumption.”
Regulator Ofcom says networks have largely remained resilient despite addtional demand thanks to service providers taking steps to maintain and increase capacity. However it hasn’t been all plain sailing for Virgin Media as a major outage in April affected customers across the UK.
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