- Following the announcement regarding the lockdown measures our telephones never seemed to stop ringing: 65% more calls made via landline connections, and 33% via mobile networks.
- Our download record was broken by 2.6 terabits per second.
- During the lockdown network traffic was up by 30% on average, and 38% more landline and 14% more mobile phone calls were made.
We collectively broke an internet record during the lockdown. The growth normally experienced by Telenet over the fixed internet network in one year was achieved within a single day during the first weekend of the lockdown. Internet users jointly downloaded a volume equal to more than half a million films in just one hour. And in times of crisis we are once again reaching for the telephone to call people; even over landline connections. As a matter of fact, 30% more calls were made on landline telephones compared to mobile ones even before the lockdown.
The past few weeks saw a massive shift in traffic from physical motorways to digital highways. Thanks to online conferences, smartschooling and video calling we were able to stay connected, while we sought our entertainment through e-péritifs, gaming and streaming. Both landline and mobile networks were able to cope with this tremendous increase in digital traffic easily, precluding any likelihood of ‘internet traffic jams’. Thanks to numerous investments over the past few years the lanes of our digital highway are broad enough to effortlessly accommodate this extra traffic throughout the day.
An entire year’s worth of extra traffic generated in a single day
On 21 March 2020, the first weekend of the lockdown, the total record of internet usage over the landline network was completely smashed. We reached an all-time high of 2.6 terabits per second. This means that all internet users collectively downloaded more than 2,600 gigabits within the space of a single second on the cable network. This is equal to downloading more than half a million films in just one hour.
Let’s place these figures in perspective. At the beginning of 2020 we had just reached the mark of 2 terabits (or 2,000 gigabits) per second. This means that twice as much use was made of the internet compared to three years ago. After all, we are all sending and viewing more data, photos and videos; and on more and more devices simultaneously. By adding a total of 600 gigabits per second to this figure in a single day a new peak was reached on the network: which was 30% higher than the last, and 50% higher than normal consumption on a Saturday. Normally, we see an increase like this occurring only gradually and would need an entire year for this.
30 to 40% more data downloaded
So, all of Belgium went online at the same time. Where the network normally peaked only in the evening it was busy all day long during the corona crisis. We downloaded 30-40% more data in the past few weeks. This growth can be attributed in particular to downloading games and streaming. On top of that we are also uploading more data than before: the upstream volume increased by 70% during the first days of the lockdown. This figure includes school and work-based applications: uploading assignments, video conferences, etc.
We make more telephone calls in times of crisis
On Friday, 13 March – the day after the first press confidence of the Security Council and the announcement concerning the lockdown regulations was aired – we all reached for the telephone. More than 4.8 million telephone calls were made over the landline network: that’s 65% more than on a regular weekday. This is equal to an average of four phone calls per customer; twice as many as usual. We also made more frequent use of our smartphones to call people: 25 million calls – or an average of nine calls per user – were made via the mobile network.What was, however, rather remarkable was that we did not detect a real peak in data traffic on 13 March. In the past few years, this had always served as a yardstick for important or significant events. It is clear that we attached more value to being able to actually hear one another during these perplexing times.