An internet service provider saw record high traffic last weekend as demand shoots up, with more people working from home or spending more time online and watching TV in social isolation.

Three ISPs said large organisations had also shown an increased demand for high bandwidth and virtual PABX, an automatic telephone switching system.

A spokesperson for service provider GO said the company had seen an all-time high in internet traffic last weekend, double the highest level reached last year.

Over the last week, voice traffic had gone up by 50 per cent when compared to ‘business as usual’ levels.

The company also observed record usage of video on demand and of their television app. 

But the companies are saying they are well-prepared for the high usage levels.

“We have invested over €240 million over the past 10 years in our network to ensure it is resilient enough to cope with such demand,” GO said.

“These situations turn out to be an opportunity to experience and test the real resiliency of our networks.”

The company has also increased network capacity in its main health care locations such as Mater Dei and Boffa hospitals, with its engineers continuously monitoring the network to ensure its correct operation.

GO said it had increased network capacity “where traffic trends in the past weeks have indicated areas of potential congestion in the future”.

“Our priority is to ensure as minimal disruption as possible during these testing circumstances.”

We have ample network capacity to support our customers

Likewise, a spokesperson for Vodafone said it had experienced growth in usage in all segments since the second week of March, with daily usage increasing between 15 and 50 per cent over the past few days. 

The company experienced a “surge of requests for various forms of connectivity” which it said could be attributed to companies preparing to switch to working remotely. 

While use of mobile data had declined somewhat, the provider noticed growing data usage at customers’ home or office internet. 

“We’re continuously monitoring the usage on our network and, overall, we have ample network capacity to support our customers and also some further upgrades planned to cater for further growth if required,” a spokesperson said. 

“We are also very conscious of the fact that most emergency services rely on our networks to function properly.

“Naturally, we are making sure that whilst serving our clients and the country, our employees are working safely and that all precautions have been taken to safeguard themselves, their families, their colleagues and our clients.”

A spokesperson for service provider Melita said that while the use of home internet had increased in recent days, usage had so far remained well within the capabilities of its network. 

“This continuity of service has been possible thanks to significant investments by Melita in both its mobile and fixed networks over recent years,” the spokesperson said. 

Melita has urged clients who need support to make contact through online chat and Facebook messenger. It said that arrangements had also been made for call centre staff to work remotely in order to be able to continue providing support by phone.

As local demand surges, however, streaming service Netflix and video website YouTube said they were reducing the quality of their pictures in Europe for about a month to prevent the internet from collapsing under the strain.

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