19th July: Virgin Media O2 has released its latest network data showing massive spikes in traffic at events and popular coastal resorts as the UK records the hottest day ever. The converged network operator is upgrading the UK’s summer experiences by investing more than ever in keeping customers connected – either with temporary sites at key events or via upgrading 4G sites across the country.
Battling the heatwave
With temperatures reaching record highs this month, coastal areas in Northern Ireland including Portrush and Portstewart saw the biggest spikes in network traffic compared to average levels over the previous month, as sun-seekers took advantage of the hotter weather. Meanwhile in England, coastal areas including Skegness and Great Yarmouth Town were amongst the busiest places for overall mobile network traffic across the UK, with both jumping into the top 5. Significant spikes in traffic were also seen at the Great Yorkshire Showground and in St Andrews as people flocked to the Great Yorkshire Show and golf’s British Open, from the 14th – 17th July.
On Monday 18th July, as temperatures approached 40 degrees, the heatwave led hot and bothered home workers to log off early with network data suggesting the nation skipped afternoon video calls. Upstream traffic on Virgin Media’s broadband network fell by as much as 12.3% on Monday afternoon between 4 and 6pm compared with just a few weeks ago. Monday evening’s download traffic was also down 15.2% between 8 and 10pm on the same levels two weeks ago as the country turned off devices in sweltering living rooms.
Staying connected at live action events
Data peaks have also been recorded at flagship British events including Wimbledon, Silverstone and Glastonbury. During the Wimbledon fortnight, Virgin Media O2 recorded a huge spike across its masts in the area, handling over 35TB of data, roughly the equivalent of half a million Instagram stories*. To support its largest ever volume of network traffic at the Championships – up almost 50% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019 – the operator deployed several additional temporary sites alongside its existing local network masts, keeping fans connected and able to stream throughout.
Virgin Media O2 also saw a significant uplift in data traffic at Silverstone, where it deployed temporary sites across the circuit to help fans capture and share the action at the British Grand Prix. The masts delivered 4G and 5G services, with traffic reaching 21TB on 4G as customers enjoyed the action. At Glastonbury, Virgin Media O2 also installed multiple temporary sites, ensuring music fans stayed connected throughout the iconic festival.
Investing to upgrade the UK
Virgin Media O2 has heavily invested in its network to boost connectivity and continue to meet demand driven by large scale events and staycations. In the past 12 months, over 34,000 seaside and coastal postcodes were upgraded with 4G capacity and over 22,000 with 5G capacity, from July 2021 to June 2022.
Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer, said: “The hot weather is helping drive record-breaking data levels across our mobile network, showing that across the UK, people are getting outside and enjoying themselves or escaping to seek out shade. From temporary masts at flagship events, to 4G upgrades across rural areas, we’re helping Brits stay connected while they do the things they love.
“Whether people are heading to the beach or to watch their favourite band perform live, we’re providing reliable connectivity where people need it most – all part of our mission of upgrading the UK.”