Openreach sees 20% surge in daytime network usage before lockdown

Openreach has said usage of its network has surged by about 20% as a growing number of people turn to the internet for work and entertainment during the coronavirus outbreak.

The latest data relates to Monday daytime, before the UK was ordered into lockdown, compared with the same period last week.

BT-owned Openreach – which maintains the telephone cables and cabinets across the country used by most broadband providers – said that, despite the jump, usage is still lower than the usual peaks it experiences in the evening.

“We’re not seeing any significant issues across our broadband or phone network,” an Openreach spokesman said.

“We’ve seen a circa 20% increase in daytime usage over our fibre network, but that’s in line with what we expected and not as high as the usage levels we see during evening peak times.”

Streaming platforms including Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube have already reduced the quality of videos in a bid to ease the strain on internet service providers.

Video streaming apps
A number of streaming platforms have reduced video quality to ease the pressure on internet services (Nick Ansell/PA)

Meanwhile, video gaming experts have urged gamers to play at “reasonable times” to further ease pressure.

Last week, BT’s chief technology and information officer, Howard Watson, said the UK’s communications infrastructure is “well within its capacity limits” and “has significant headroom for growth in demand”.

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