Demand for superfast fibre broadband is booming as remote workers, businesses and consumers dig in for an extended period of quarantine.

With so many parts of the Highlands and Islands, including Stornoway, within the reach of fibre broadband, BT is seeing an increase in demand for upgrades to tackle the demands of home working and keeping entire households amused during the quarantine.

Despite the spike in traffic during the daytime, the peak periods are at 5pm for the daily Downing Street briefing, and between 8 and 9 pm, mainly due to content streaming of games and TV on demand.

BT, meanwhile, remains confident that the UK network has the capacity to cope with the extra Covid19 broadband demand.

Addressing earlier media stories that the broadband network may not be able to cope, a BT spokesman pointed out that the UK network has been built with ‘headroom’ to spare. Though there had been a 35 - 60% increase for bandwidth, the peak had only hit 7.5 Terabytes/per second, significantly short of the 17.5 Terabytes/per second the network has been shown to be capable of handling.

Added the spokesman:  “These facts give us confidence that the additional load on the broadband network is well within manageable limits and we have plenty of headroom for it to grow still further.

“But we’re not complacent. We’re monitoring the network closely, and collaborating with the other UK networks and content companies. Our Network Operations Centre teams are operating around the clock to identify any issues and resolve them as rapidly as possible. And if more capacity is needed, our engineers are on standby 24/7 to make that happen.”

Interestingly, Covid19 has changed how we are using the internet. There has been a 5% decrease in mobile data traffic, as many people are connecting their mobiles to their home WiFi, rather than using the cellular network. And mobile traffic is also becoming more evenly distributed across the country, as people travel into urban hubs less frequently. 

Conversely, mobile voice calls are soaring, but BT are encouraging people to switch to landlines or internet phone call platforms such as Skype etc., especially for long conference calls.

To ensure you get the most out of your home and mobile connections, no matter the provider, BT offers these handy tips.

• Make sure your router isn’t hidden away or on the floor and is kept away from other electronics - these can interfere with WiFi signals 

• Restart your router if problems persist and regularly reconnect devices like your phone, tablet and laptop to WiFi 

• Consider making calls on your mobile over WiFi using popular apps such as WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype and Facebook Messenger or use a fixed line 

• Try turning your phone off and on again to refresh your network connection or toggle your flight mode on and off 

• Check your provider’s website for specific tips and support (search: provider name + “help”). If you’re having mobile signal problems, check for any issues in your area using your provider’s online status checker or mobile app

 • Get further advice on maximising your broadband and mobile connections from Ofcom by searching “Ofcom Stay Connected”