Lockdown Data Deluge

Lockdown Data Deluge

As PR and Media Manager I’m tasked with writing the company blog which today I am doing from my dining table in the living room, my makeshift office over the past 2 weeks. I’m also sharing the “office space” with my 10-year-old son as his home schooling classroom. My wife who runs her own hair salon from the house (now closed), is now acting as teacher, and disciplinarian to both of us.

Covid-19 has thrown the world into crisis and lockdown measures have now changed the face of human interaction in the workplace and socially to something straight out of the envisaged future in the Steven Spielberg Sci Fi hit movie “Ready player One”, where the inhabitants of earth in 2035 interact through VR to meet, socialise and work. My own living room this week has hosted a Rave Bingo Night and Zumba class streamed through Facebook and a dance class though Zoom. The new “House Party” app is now installed in all family members phones, including grandparents who have been forced to up their game in the tech stakes to stay connected.

Our daily work at ILI Group has been conducted remotely from home since the 16th of March using Zoom for frequent video conferencing between ourselves and other contractors and suppliers to keep the wheels turning.

At times you can hear the internet creaking under the pressure of this new deluge of data streaming from every connected internet capable device not just in my house but across the entire country and the globe.

In the UK service providers have reported double digit increases in broadband usage some reporting a 60% rise to normal weekdays and mobile providers reporting a 50% traffic increase as we all try to stay connected.

Chintan Patel, Cisco’s CTO said “This is an increase we would normally expect to see in a year, We’re now obviously seeing that in a matter of days and weeks.”

He continued, “designed to cope with the peak” of web traffic. “It’s just that the peak is at a longer time and longer duration now.”

“The internet is not just one thing, it’s like a living breathing human with lots of different neurons and connection points working to keep it alive, even if you cut off one finger, the rest of the body will keep it alive.”

In a deal announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, broadband and mobile suppliers have responded to this new need by removing all allowance caps on fixed broadband services to help keep the most venerable connected.  The agreement struck between the Government ,T/EE, Openreach, Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk, O2, Vodafone, Three, Hyperoptic, Gigaclear, and KCOM will come into effect immediately.

They have said they will ensure all those who are struggling to pay bills will not be cut off and will offer new generous packages to the most vulnerable including free calls and data boosts to insure connection to friends and family. 

The digital secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “It’s fantastic to see mobile and broadband providers pulling together to do their bit for the national effort by helping customers, particularly the most vulnerable, who may be struggling with bills at this difficult time. It is essential that people stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. This package helps people to stay connected whilst they stay home.”

Watchdog Ofcom’s chief executive, Melanie Dawes, said: “We recognise providers are dealing with unprecedented challenges at the moment. So we welcome them stepping up to protect vulnerable customers, at a time when keeping in touch with our friends and families has never been more important.”

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