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Data: Record year for UK broadband

January 4, 2024

By Colin Mann

Broadband use across the UK increased by 9 per cent in 2023, according to digital infrastructure provider Openreach.

Openreach’s annual update indicates that broadband traffic across the UK increased by around 9 per cent during 2023 to 94,722 Petabytes (PB) of data.

Closer examination of the numbers shows that peaks tend to be focused on specific online events such as Amazon Prime’s Premier League coverage, and the release of downloads for popular gaming titles including Call of Duty.

There was a real surge in broadband use towards the end of the year, with December being the busiest month of 2023 for broadband traffic, and Boxing Day (December 26th) the busiest day.

With Openreach’s full fibre broadband network now available to more than 12.5 million premises, further jumps in data are expected.

“Our network has once again performed the important role of keeping the UK connected throughout 2023, both at home and at work,” states Trevor Linney, Director of Network Technology. “We’re seeing a real pattern starting to emerge in these annual reports, with live sports and gaming at the heart of huge jumps in data usage.”

“We believe that our insights are some of the best and most comprehensive available. The Openreach network is the biggest in the UK, and we carry broadband traffic for hundreds of broadband companies. This gives us the full picture.”

“As always, the real good news is that our network always stands up to the test. We have a team of experts working hard to make sure there’s enough capacity for every eventuality.”

“They’re there day and night, throughout the year, constantly looking out for what the next big broadband traffic day could be,” he adds.

Key findings for the UK’s broadband use during 2023 include:

    • The busiest day across the Openreach network was Tuesday December 26th (Boxing Day), when 342 PB of data was consumed. This was largely driven by the ongoing festivities, people using their broadband connections to stay in touch, set up new devices, watch movies, and boosted considerably by five Amazon Prime football matches, which were only available to watch online.
    • The second busiest day was Wednesday December 27th, which continued the trend of the previous day with live football and ongoing celebrations across the UK. More than 330 PB of data was consumed across the Openreach network.
    • The next busiest days were Thursday December 28th (319 PB) as festivities continued, and during November as popular gaming patches for titles including Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III were released. More than 319 PB of data was downloaded on Sunday November 19th, closely following by November 12th when 313 PB of data was consumed.
    • The busiest months in 2023 were December (8,944 PB), November (8,289 PB), and October (8,251 PB).
    • The busiest day of the week is typically a Sunday.
    • The busiest time on the network is usually between 8pm and 9pm, but this can be extended from 7pm through to 10pm.
    • The busiest hour for broadband consumption during 2023, and indeed ever, was between 8pm and 9pm on Wednesday November 6th when Amazon Prime screened six Premier League matches. 29.5 Petabytes of data was used by the UK, the average for that hour would normally be around 21 PB.
    • The busiest hour during the festive period was between 9pm and 10pm on Thursday December 28th, when 27.1 PB was used.
    • Online gaming continues to have a significant impact on the UK’s broadband consumption. For example, many of the busiest days of the year coincide with popular downloads for Call of Duty.

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