back to article Data surge as more Brits work from home? Not as hard on the network as their nightly Netflix binges, claims BT

Brit telco BT is talking tough, saying it is confident its broadband network will not buckle under the increased strain of extra people using broadband as they work from home to avoid catching the coronairus. Concerns over network capacity emerged after businesses across Britain told their staff to steer clear of the office …

  1. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Wait until everyone is at home with full business links open AND starts watching NetFlix.

    1. analyzer

      Not quite, in a full lock down food and pharmacy will still be running so some poor buggers will have to put up with a gen pop trying to infect them.

    2. theblackhand Silver badge

      You really think moving the mouse occasionally so Skype shows you online while you watch Netflix will use that much more bandwidth than just watching Netflix?

      1. Strahd Ivarius

        Since the mouse will be managed by an application running on Docker hosted in a cloud environment using a video feed to check on the position of the aforementioned mouse it may well be using a lot of bandwidth, even before adding the needed bell and whistles for generating usage reports...

    3. HildyJ Silver badge

      Quick! I need to know how I can stockpile bandwidth!

      And how much space will it take up? My toilet paper hoard already takes up half of my bedroom.

  2. IneptAdept

    Herd immunity

    I'm surprised more hasn't been made of the herd immunity claim made

    While I agree with it in principle, look at chicken-pox for instance.

    I think generally people are being dicks re: stockpiling food when it comes to looking after those more in need!

    If we weren't

    a) selfish now

    b) connected

    c) feel the need to work so much

    My opinion is let the young and healthy get infected and isolate as there seems a extremely low probability of reinfection

    At least then they would be able to rejoin the workforce quicker to relieve stress on the others while they go through it

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Herd immunity

      I think that is the Boris plan, or is it Cummings?

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Herd immunity

        I have a CunningCummings Plan says BaldrickBoris

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Herd immunity

      I heard an MP being interviewed - the House of Commons was mentioned, but crucially omitted any mention of the House of Lords, the members of which would have an average age much higher than that of the House of Commons and into the crucial at-risk age range.

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

        Re: Herd immunity

        Those Lords will be quaking in their armchairs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Herd immunity

          Is this the long awaited reform of the House of Lords that politicians have been discussing?

          Or do they have to take on extra staff from a section of the populace less affected by this type of illness to fill in their expenses in their absence? After all, we wouldn't want ones moat to become overgrown just because one couldn't pop into London to escape the wife/family/pets or catch up on a bit of sleep after a large meal with plenty of drink (expensed of course...)

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Herd immunity

      This whole 'herd immunity' plan sort of works, as in, once you've had Covid-19 once, you're almost certainly not going to get it again.

      The rather obvious downside is that you're requiring a large proportion of the population to get ill in the first place.

      Sure, the majority of younger people will be fine after a week in bed, but it's not guaranteed that people will be fine, and there doesn't seem to be any concrete plans for preventing at-risk people from being infected other than "try and self isolate".

      I suppose that if you're the Prime Minister you can pretty much guarantee you'll get good hospital treatment, so fuck everyone else right?

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Herd immunity

        Sure, the majority of younger people will be fine after a week in bed

        Finally! The Millennials will be able to get some decent jobs and houses after the decimation of the old fogies.

  3. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Surely there are lots of times when people are at home using the internet and it seems to just about cope OK, think rainy bank holidays or those days between Christmas and New year. I don't see people working from home adding much extra traffic over that.

  4. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    What was that ?

    Spain has a full-fiber broadband network that covers 75% of the country and it is still asking people to cut down on their Internet usage ? How shitty is their fiber ?

    I'm guessing that ISPs have once again let loose with "up to" claims and now they're in the obligation of, <gasp>, actually having to provide that bandwidth.

    After the "Oh shit !" moment, they're now running around like headless chickens, reconfiguring backends and adding bandwidth capacity that will allow them to handle the load that they've already sold.

    I have trouble shedding a tear, there.

    1. Joe Montana

      Re: What was that ?

      The last mile connection is fibre but that doesn't mean the ISPs backhauls can cope with lots of users maxing out their fibre connections at once.

      There could also be poor/limited peering between different ISPs, so even domestic traffic will clog up or take inefficient routes.

      The UK is different, the last mile connections to users are often old and poor but the backhaul and peering is generally very good. Plus with the users on slower connections, you need many more of them to start saturating the backbone links anyway. Plus one user saturating their local adsl isn't going to have any effect on other users lines.

      1. Keith Oborn

        Re: What was that ?

        Backbone networks are usually scaled based on "user profile" - this is the "average peak bandwidth per user" - IE total bandwidth at peak divided by number of users. Note that this means the total "sold" users, not the number actually connected at the time, although nowadays most accounts are "connected" all the time.

        The peak usually occurs around 8-9PM, and the daytime figure is around 1/2 to 2/3 of that. The increase in online video sources in recent years may have increased that ratio.

        The real problem would be a combination of working from home *and* kids off school watching YouTube etc in the daytime. Some selective throttling might be needed.

  5. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    IT Angle


    One of my developers said they'll work from home tomorrow. I suspect during the day, the home broadband will carry a higher volume of traffic not just by volume, but by elapsed time on streaming than on traffic to the company VPN for RDP.

    Anyway, no great loss - at least it will keep this one away from writing too much of gibberish code that I will have to untangle later

  6. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    5G Bingo

    Only 1 mention of 5G, and even that, towards the end of the article.

    And no mention of a certain Chinese manufacturer

  7. Corp-Rat


    A few people I know have just finished installing a new 100Gb/s fibre ring around Kent and there's more planned. There may be lots of grumbles about BT Retail or Openreach but the core capacity is constantly being increased.

    1. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: capacity

      Core 2.0 was built to carry 24Mbps to every home, so even without upgrades, the amount of homes below this line (and the paucity of those above) means there is significant overhead.

      This was before the upgrades you know about.

      Also, I can confirm UK broadband usage peaks at between 5-7pm and gets itself sorted by 9pm, as this is when our email servers used to go down on a regular basis, when i was TS for an ISP.

  8. BigAndos

    Hmmm my BT infinity connection is about half the speed it normally is during the day at the moment! Still getting 20Mbps so definitely usable. I'm more worried about my company's shoddy VPN and ageing citrix infrastructure, we've already had a few issues.

  9. Andre 3

    You get what you pay for

    My neighbours are all already moaning about their internet speeds on their crappy 20:1 or 40:1 contended conections. I'm glad I pay all those pennies extra for a 5:1 business-class link. My slowest has been 60mbits throughout with no latency changes.

  10. steviebuk Silver badge


    ...the old DVD collection will have some use when Netflix, Amazon, NOW go offline then :)

    All, quick, panic buy all the DVDs at the local charity shops. Benefits you and the charity shop and charity.

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