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Broadband ISP TalkTalk Sees UK Internet Traffic Surge 50% in 2020

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020 (2:27 pm) - Score 5,928

Budget broadband ISP TalkTalk has today reported that, on average, household internet usage on their network increased by 50% year-on-year in 2020 as the COVID-19 crisis “accelerated the importance of home connectivity” across all aspects of life (e.g. working from home, video conferencing, education etc.).

The highest ever data usage peak of 7.63Tbps (Terabits per second) was also set on the 16th December 2020 (up from 7.23Tbps just a week earlier on 6th December), which the ISP said was largely driven by a combination of football on Amazon Prime’s video streaming service and the latest update for Call of Duty (a popular online game).

A regional analysis of the UK’s broadband usage on TalkTalk’s network found that it was towns outside of the capital that saw the biggest increases in data consumption. For example, residents of the West Yorkshire town of Halifax saw the highest year-on-year increase of 58%, while neighbouring Hull hit 55%.

Region YOY increase
Halifax 58%
Hull 55%
Llandudno 53%
Telford 52%
Stockport 52%
Leicester 52%
Reading 52%
Bradford 51%
Leeds 51%
Blackburn 51%

Lockdown also inspired a new generation of silver surfers. Data reveals that the usage by people over the age of 75 rose by 52% year-on-year, which is the steepest rise across all generations.

Previous Traffic Peaks on TalkTalk
6th December 2020: 7.23Tb/s driven by a combination of video streaming, with many consumers tuning in to watch the Liverpool Vs. Wolves Premier League match and watching films on various services

15th December 2020: 7.16Tb/s driven by a combination of football on Amazon Prime and updates for Fortnite and Call of Duty Black Ops

17th December 2020: 7.12Tb/s driven by football on Amazon Prime

14th November 2020: 6.94Tb/s driven by a combination of console updates and international rugby

10th November 2020: 6.85Tb/s driven by the Xbox One launch and Call If Duty updates

1st December 2020: 6.82Tb/s driven by Champions League Football

We should point out that demand for data is constantly rising and so new peaks of usage are being set all the time by every UK ISP (usage across the industry typically grows by 30%+ per year – averaged). But most ISPs also employ Content Delivery Networks (CDN) to help manage the load from such events, which caches popular content closer in the network to end-users (i.e. improves performance without network strain).

Gary Steen, TT’s MD of Technology, said:

“2020 has accelerated the digital-first lifestyle and the increase in usage we’ve seen this year is just the beginning. We expect additional network peaks to happen throughout the Christmas period – particularly on Boxing Day, as live football coupled with new devices being connected to the internet and larger gaming downloads driving up demand.”

One other contributing factor to the surge in usage seen during 2020 could also be the growing rollout and take-up of ultrafast Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) based broadband packages, which has been somewhat overlooked above. Admittedly, this won’t yet be having a huge impact upon TalkTalk’s own base, but then we can’t be sure as the ISP doesn’t tend to split out their customer figures across different “fibre” technologies.

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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
13 Responses
  1. Derek says:

    Couldn’t even get 16 Mbps on faster fibre,I think talk talk got their figures wrong.worst company going.Looking forward to them taking me to court for early cancellation of contract they breeched.

    1. Richard says:

      I’ve been with them for years. If I have any issues I just email the CEO and that gets results.

  2. mysterious man says:

    “10th November 2020: 6.85Tb/s driven by the Xbox One launch and Call If Duty updates”
    Corrections: Xbox Series X/S and also Call Of Duty

  3. Regorimabitbackward says:

    I read that talk talk had agreed a sale to toscafund for £1.1 billion does this mean a Christmas bonus for Santa?

  4. Chris Saunders says:

    Can we get Talk Talk in Hull? Whenever I try to get an alternative ISP to KCom (other than a wireless offering) I am advised it is not possible by their sales people; I admit the last time I tried to change was over five years ago, but this is news to me!

    1. spurple says:

      Why would you be asking KCOM to recommend you an alternative ISP? Go to Uswitch or other comparison site, and enter your postcode and see what offers you get.

    2. Mr says:

      It’s very hard to get any other ISP in Hull as there is no Openreach presence. KCOM own all the cables and exchanges, they were the only holdouts in the country when all other companies sold their networks to the then BT group

  5. Moss says:

    I do not even know people handle Talk Talk (one of the worst telecom providers ever) there are better alternatives than that rubbish provider cough aka talk talk.

  6. Robert says:

    Usually my family use around 900GB per month. This month used near 2 TB, because my son received PS5 console and downloaded content from old PS4 account.
    I use TalkTalk for over 10 years and happy enough with service.
    My connection is around 53Mb/13Mb and stable enough.
    Of course 53Mb for “fibre” – too slow.
    Fibre must to be 1 Gbps like in other EU countries.

    1. Marek says:

      Lol fiber isn’t always 1gbs, you can get speeds from 100mbs, 200 etc to 1000mbs. There could be even 1 or 10 mbs options…

    2. Craig says:

      Its the normal now I use over 3tb on 5g mobile broadband……

      My daily usage well over 100gb streaming 4K tv and ps5 downloading and youtube uploading….
      Remember back in the days people say 1tb is abusing the network

  7. Robert says:

    In my area BT sell FTTP services (speeds +150 Mbps) from September 2019, but TalkTalk shows “Not available in your area”.
    Very strange.

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