Pure Telecom finds that broadband downloads more than doubled during pandemic

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  • The average Pure Telecom customer downloaded 555 GB worth of data in February 2021, compared to 257 GB in February 2020 (up 2.16 times year-on-year)
  • The percent of users downloading at least one Terabyte of data per month increased by 345% when comparing February 2020 with February 2021
  • Data highlights how increases in downloads correspond with months of more severe restrictions – with falls evident in lower restriction months
  • One anomalous month, November, saw downloads of more than double the pandemic average, coinciding with video gaming launches and the US presidential election

Dublin, 24th May 2021 – Pure Telecom, one of Ireland’s leading broadband and telecom providers, has today released data illustrating that the average volume of data downloaded by its customers more than doubled (2.16 times increase) when comparing February 2020 to February 2021. The average Pure Telecom broadband customer downloaded 555 GB worth of data in February 2021, compared to 257 GB in February 2020.

Furthermore, Pure Telecom’s research showed a 345% increase in the share of users who downloaded at least one Terabyte of data per month, with 13.05% of customers downloading at least a Terabyte in February 2021 compared with just 2.94% in February 2020.

The research is based on an average monthly sample of 11,665 Irish households who are all Pure Telecom fixed line broadband customers.

Pure Telecom’s research also shows that in almost every month in the 12 months leading up to February 2021, there was a direct correlation of increases and reductions of data download volumes with increases and reductions in Covid-19 restrictions, as well as external global events. When restrictions tightened, data traffic volumes increased, with people consuming more home entertainment, and more people working and educating themselves from home.

The research revealed November 2020 as the largest single month in the 12 months to February 2021 for data downloads, with households downloading an average 987 GB – more than double the 479 GB downloaded on average in comparable months when Covid-19 restrictions were tighter. The November increase coincided with the launch of new video games and gaming platforms, as well as the US election.

Pure Telecom charted Ireland’s pandemic journey from a downloading perspective between February 2020 and February 2021, identifying events that coincided with increases or reductions in average monthly data volumes (see figure 1 attached).

Pure Telecom also illustrated year-on-year increases in data downloads by comparing download data volumes each February for the last five years. This analysis showed that volumes of data increased by an average of 21% each year from 2016 to 2020 and then spiked to a 116% increase in February 2021 (see figure 2 attached).

Pure Telecom further charted the year-on-year share of users who downloaded more than a Terabyte of data. It showed that 13.05% of customers downloaded this volume in February 2021, compared to 0.13% in 2016, a 100 times growth (see figure 3 attached).

Paul Connell, CEO, Pure Telecom, said: “The importance of reliable, high speed broadband has been thrust into sharp focus over the past 12 months as it supports students’ educational pursuits, enables seamless working from home, keeps gamers active online, while ensuring people remain connected and entertained. This research provides a fascinating insight into Ireland’s internet usage during the pandemic.

“Looking at the anomaly that was November 2020, where data downloads more than doubled, we know from research that this was driven by gamers flocking to download games for new Xbox consoles, the new PlayStation 5, as well as huge game releases from the likes of the Call of Duty games franchise. I can personally attest to an uptick in gaming downloads and 24-hour streaming of US election coverage in my household. I’m sure many of our loyal Pure Telecom subscribers experienced similar.

“It’s also very interesting to see how the easing and tightening of restrictions impacted our users’ online activity. Since the onset of the pandemic, we doubled down on our efforts to ensure that every Pure Telecom gamer, streamer, and general user received the best possible broadband speeds. This effort is unwavering as we extend our reach, with ever higher fixed line broadband speeds across both rural and urban locations.

“The increase in home working and changes in entertainment patterns, as well as the stark increase in the number of users downloading more than a Terabyte of data per month, clearly illustrates the need for ultra high speed broadband, and makes the case for high performance fixed line broadband connections. Many video games, for example, have more than quadrupled in size in just a couple of years, with some games requiring downloads of more than 200 Gigabytes. At Pure Telecom, we don’t place any limits on customer downloads.”

The release of this data follows Pure Telecom’s recent crowning as Ireland’s Best Broadband at the 2021 bonkers.ie National Consumer Awards.


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