Speculation in the press and elsewhere that our networks won’t be able to cope with the increase in voice and data traffic, now that more people are working from home and many schools are closed, is categorically untrue, says Scott Petty, Vodafone UK's Chief Technology Officer.
Our networks remain strong and will cope with this health emergency – we’re doing everything in our power to make them as resilient as possible.
There will be challenges, of course – these are unprecedented times – but the vast majority of our customers will continue to have a really good experience.
So let me explain what we’ve been doing to keep the UK connected.
In short, we’ve been adding more capacity and changing the way we manage voice and data traffic across our complex network of fibre optic cables, copper wires, base stations, exchanges, masts and antennae.
Normally, most people travel to work in cities, so we make sure we have the most mobile capacity where they are – at train stations, near offices, restaurants and so on. In this scenario we don’t need as much capacity during the day near the places where they live.
But the coronavirus (COVID-19) has turned this pattern of behaviour completely on its head.
As a result, we are seeing about a 30% increase in internet traffic over our fixed and mobile networks. Also, we’ve seen fixed telephony traffic grow by more than 25% and mobile voice traffic increase by 42%.