Coronavirus Lockdown leads to 99% increase in high-speed broadband take-up

Yahoo Finance UK
Brits are spending more time online in lockdown. (Thomas Lefebvre/Unsplash)
Brits are spending more time online in lockdown. (Thomas Lefebvre/Unsplash)

High-speed broadband sales nearly doubled in the first three weeks from when COVID-19 social distancing and lockdown measures were implemented.

Acording to MoneySuperMarket data, in the three weeks from 16 March — when government advice on social distancing and working from home was issued — there was a staggering 99% rise in purchases of the highest broadband speed packages (61+ Mbs) compared with the previous three weeks.

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(MoneySuperMarket)
(MoneySuperMarket)

For the same period in 2019, the sales of high-speed internet dropped by a third, indicating this isn’t simply a seasonal trend but one sparked by the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the nationwide lockdown.

When comparing all remaining data — from January to April 2020 — sales of high-speed broadband were up by 146% during this three week period.

Similarly, on a day-to-day basis, there was a 32% average increase in all broadband sales in the three weeks following 16 March compared to the three weeks prior. 

“Lockdown has had an impact on various aspects of our lives, with many of us now relying on a strong, stable internet connection in order to work from home, stay entertained or keep in touch with family and friends,” said Emma Spencer, senior channel manager at MoneySuperMarket.

She added: “It is still possible to switch provider if you find your current connection is running slower than usual, and in the majority of cases an engineer is not required to visit your home to get you up and running.

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“If you’re looking into a faster internet speed to cope with increased demand, comparing the best broadband and shopping around will ensure you get the right package for you.”

Research by Ofcom found Brits are now spending more than a quarter of their waking day online — the highest on record — with services such as TikTok and Zoom (ZM) seeing unprecedented growth.

The Online Nation report revealed that in April 2020, during the height of lockdown, UK adults spent about four hours and two minutes online — up from just under three and a half hours in September last year.

TikTok, which allows users to create and share short dance, lip-sync, comedy and talent videos, reached 12.9 million UK adult visitors in April, up from just 5.4 million in January.

Twitch, the popular live-streaming platform for gamers, saw visitors increase from 2.3 million to 4.2 million adults.

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Video calls have also doubled during lockdown, with more than seven in 10 Brits making one at least weekly. Houseparty, the app which combines group video-calls with games and quizzes, grew from 175,000 adult visitors in January to four million in April.

But the biggest growth was seen by Zoom, the virtual meeting platform, which grew from 659,000 UK adults to reach 13 million adults over the same period — a rise of almost 2,000%.

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