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COVID-19 Impact – Openreach’s Network Traffic by UK Region UPDATE

Wednesday, April 29th, 2020 (8:19 am) - Score 5,080

Openreach (BT) has kindly furnished ISPreview.co.uk with some up-to-date data that shows the change in their weekly network traffic (Ethernet, broadband etc.) by each region of the United Kingdom due to the impact of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. London saw the biggest jump (28.58%) to 112.37 PetaBytes.

Since most adults and children are now stuck at home during the lockdown then much of the recorded increase relates to daytime network traffic, while during the evenings the operator noted that “network traffic remains pretty much unchanged … and still well below the more extreme peaks we experienced just before Christmas, when Amazon live streamed multiple Premier League matches at the same time.”

The findings are roughly consistent with what we’ve seen all though the current crisis. We should add, in case it wasn’t already obvious, that Openreach are of course one of the main connectivity suppliers for various major data links, hundreds of fixed line broadband ISPs and mobile network operators etc.

Otherwise the figures below represent weekly totals (w/c = week commencing from Monday onwards) in PetaBytes of data. The original source data also included information for the week commencing 13th April 2020 but those figures were almost identical to 20th April period and so we’ve only used the most recent week.

The 24th February was picked because it’s fairly representative of the pre-COVID-19 picture, which began to really have an impact through March until we settled into the new normal. Otherwise Openreach said they’ve had no trouble coping with the extra load: “We’re not experiencing any issues and we don’t anticipate any,” said the operator.

NOTE: 1 PetaByte is equal to 1,000 TeraBytes (TB) or 1,000,000 GigaBytes (GB).
Region w/c 24th Feb w/c 20th April % Increase
East Midlands 42.9 54.33 26.64%
West Midlands 68.01 84.82 24.72%
East of England 68.03 85.69 25.96%
Scotland 57.01 69.33 21.61%
North West 76.22 92.15 20.9%
North East 26.4 32.52 23.18%
Yorkshire & Humber 32.56 40.27 23.68%
Wales 70.17 84.17 19.95%
South East 63.13 80.94 28.21%
London 87.39 112.37 28.58%
South West 37.5 46.25 23.33%
N.Ireland 11.98 15.07 25.79%

UPDATE 30th April 2020

Openreach has kindly provided us with the data for Northern Ireland, which we’ve added above.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
12 Responses
  1. Stuart says:

    So there really is no need for Netflix to reduce their bandwidth.

    1. André says:

      I thought it had been made abundantly clear at the very start that there was never any need for it.
      Certainly not in the UK.

    2. Polish Economic Migrant says:

      There was never a reason for that. They did that because some idiot from the EU commission who doesn’t know what the IP address is has asked for that. The only benefit from that is lower AWS bill for Netflix.

  2. NGA for all says:

    Is it saying then that per head of population the Welsh (pop 3.1m) are using more than twice as much traffic as your average Londoner (pop 8.9m)?

    1. Grazza says:

      No it’s not.

    2. Andrew Campling says:

      The numbers for Wales do look out of proportion to the others. I wonder whether they have been mixed up with those for another region – the numbers for Yorks and Humber look low. Just a thought.

  3. User says:

    As per usual, no data from Northern Ireland

    1. MattB says:

      Openreach doesn’t exist in NI.
      They (BT) are structured differently for the island of Ireland.

    2. Fibre everywhere says:

      Pretty sure they do operate in NI based on the amount of vans on the streets. Think they changed a while back.

    3. Mark Jackson says:

      I’ve managed to get the NI data, added above.

  4. Roger_Gooner says:

    I think that many of us were aware of London’s size relative to the UK’s regions but these figures emphasise how big London is with over 112 PetaBytes and no region reaching 93 PetaBytes.

  5. Mark says:

    I think you need to look at London from a different angle, I for one have been connected to my office in London for a month, London is an end point as well

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