June 16, 2020 12:00:00 AM
By TalkTalk’s Managing Director of Technology, Change & Security, Gary Steen
Given the major changes to how we live our lives, at home and at work, it is no surprise that internet traffic and demand on our network has shot up around 30%. The need for fast, reliable and reasonably priced connectivity has never been more important.
And yet, despite initial fears that the rise in gaming, streaming and online communication would push our broadband networks to breaking point, the reality is that the UK’s network has been able withstand material increases in daytime traffic and voice usage. It is unsurprising that there has been some minor disruptions but the overall picture has been positive.
So what have we done to keep things running and keep people connected?
Well the answer is that for a while now, we’ve been obsessed at TalkTalk about our network capabilities, and have been constantly investing year on year to prepare for a surge in demand. So when it did happen, we’d be as prepared as possible.
An analogy I always like to use to bring this to life is lanes on a motorway. At first, every year, we would add another lane as traffic increased, to make the experience more enjoyable for customers. Then as traffic grew more, we added ten at a time and now we’re able to add up to 120 lanes in one go to ensure we’re always ahead of the curve. Meaning you shouldn’t experience any unnecessary congestion on your line, when you need it most.
We also closely analyse our customers’ habits to ensure we’re providing them with a service that delivers every time. This was particularly true when we saw the level of usage for streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime increase across our customer base. Working behind the scenes, we’ve been able to bring the caches (data generated by streaming sites) closer to your ‘homes’ as it were, in turn improving your viewing experience, as a result of better streaming quality and faster download speeds. It’s made such a difference that over any given 24 hour period we now deliver the fastest average download speeds on both our Faster Fibre and Superfast Fibre (FTTC) broadband versus equivalents from BT, Sky, Plusnet and Vodafone according to the industry regulator Ofcom’s latest Home Broadband Report.
That means, for those of you on our Faster Fibre and Superfast Fibre packages you can enjoy some of the fastest average start up speeds on Netflix, YouTube and BBC iPlayer or simply loading webpages, which let’s face it, after a hard day of Zoom calls is pretty much what we all want to be doing! *
From our perspective, we promise to keep investing in our network so that it continues to serve the needs of our customers. Whether that’s working with other providers to share knowledge and best practice, partnering with tech companies like Microsoft and Apple to ensure updates don’t all happen at the same time, or simply listening to our customers to learn about what we can do to keep improving.
In the meantime, if you’re a TalkTalk customer then I hope our products have helped to keep you sane during the past couple of months and will continue to do so. Whether its staying connected with colleagues or loved ones, keeping up to date with the latest series, or beating your high score on Call of Duty, we’ll continue to play our part so you can play yours.
*According to data from Ofcom, the industry regulator, comparing average download speeds over 24 hours (in November 2019) for TalkTalk's Faster Fibre and TalkTalk's Superfast Fibre versus BT's Fibre Essential and BT's Fibre 2, Sky's Superfast Fibre, Plusnet's Unlimited Fibre and Plusnet's Unlimited Fibre Extra, Vodafone's Superfast 1 and Vodafone's Superfast 2. Links to Ofcom data: