Coronavirus lockdown: Broadband traffic hits new record

Author
Newstalk ZB / Chris Keall, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 27 Mar 2020, 11:57AM
Photo / File

Coronavirus lockdown: Broadband traffic hits new record

Author
Newstalk ZB / Chris Keall, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 27 Mar 2020, 11:57AM

Internet use in New Zealand hit a new record yesterday and edged closer to the maximum capacity of network operator Chorus.

"The peak traffic last night on the Chorus network reached 2.84 terabits per second on Thursday - but the company reassures that it is still "comfortably within available headroom."

The network operator has previously put its maximum peak capacity at 3.5Tbps.

Before the lockdown, Chorus' all-time peak was the 2.6Tbps hit during the Rugby World Cup 2019.

Last night's peak is a new record on the Chorus network, surpassing the previous peak of 2.75Tbps earlier this week.

Overall, the peak has increased 24% from the normal baseline.

Photo / 123rf
Photo / 123rf

Despite the working from home surge, which as seen many workers replace email or shouting across cubicles with video chat, the heaviest traffic is still in the evenings.

A move by streaming giant Netflix to cut its bitrate (the amount of internet capacity it uses) by 25 per cent dampened the increase earlier this week, but last night it was at a new hight.

Chorus says its network "continues to perform well."

For end-users, the telecommunications network has been patchy. Congestion meant Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees customers had problems getting voice calls to connect on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the problem starting to ease yesterday. And on Wednesday evening and Thursday afternoon, Vodafone suffered broadband outages.

This morning, Chorus said it continues to work with the retail service providers [such as Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees] to ensure the points in the network where we handover traffic between one another also remain congestion-free."

Central North Island UFB network operator Ultrafast Fibre (UFF) has tracked similar increases in daytime and evening broadband use amid the Covid-19 scare then lockdown. Graph / Supplied
Central North Island UFB network operator Ultrafast Fibre (UFF) has tracked similar increases in daytime and evening broadband use amid the Covid-19 scare then lockdown. Graph / Supplied

Chorus says the increase in traffic was expected as households settle in to the COVID-19 lockdown. As new behaviour patterns settle during the lockdown, the network operator expects traffic levels to reach a steady state.

 Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

While many stocks have been battered by the virus scare, with companies suspending guidance, Chorus told the NZX this morning that it could reaffirm its 2020 earnings forecast.

The company also now expects lower spending, due to a lot of fieldwork and new-connection being suspended for the duration of the lockdown.