New broadband network in Yorkshire supports rapidly growing data demands

Catherine Colloms, Managing Director of Corporate Affairs and Chair of the Openreach North of England Board 

The last 18 months or so have been like no other, and demand for broadband has never been higher with usage more than doubling across the Openreach network during the height of the pandemic.

We saw data traffic increasing by more than 70 per cent at peak, up from around 57 Petabytes in a typical week pre-lockdown to more than 96 Petabytes. One Petabyte equals a whopping one million Gigabytes. That’s a lot of bandwidth.

The average property connected to Openreach’s fibre networks used around 3,000 Gigabytes (GB) of data, or around 9GB, per day. That’s the equivalent of between two and three HD movies being streamed in every house in the UK, every day.

Reasons for the big jump won’t come as a surprise; they include a huge increase in home working and video conferencing, more live sports being screened online, and large updates to PlayStation and Xbox games consoles including popular gaming titles like Call of Duty.

The Openreach network stood up well during the pandemic, with no major outages. Our tech experts manage network capacity for every eventuality and prepare for major drivers such as retail’s Black Friday or the release of the latest big-ticket titles on streaming services.

With many businesses asking employees to work from home throughout most of 2020/21 connecting remotely has been, and continues to be, important for everyone.

Demand for bandwidth is only going to grow, and we’re on a mission, with the right investment conditions, to upgrade the UK’s biggest broadband network through our £15 billion full fibre programme. 

More than 400,000 homes and businesses across Yorkshire can already order a gigabit-capable full fibre service – which is more reliable, faster and future-proof and work continues - with tens of thousands more set to benefit.

We’ll continue to build in both urban and rural areas across Yorkshire in the coming months and years and to support our full fibre rollout across the region and bolster our field force, we’ve already taken on 700 people in the past three years – including more than 500 trainee engineers.

Residents and businesses can check if the new network is available as well as future planned build at http://www.openreach.com. If you’re able to order, you can request an upgrade through your service provider.

Catherine Colloms, Managing Director of Corporate Affairs and Chair of the Openreach North of England Board