Broadband demand surge likely to hold up amid hybrid working – survey

Study finds average home has up to 11 devices connected to the internet

Broadband customers are increasingly looking for faster speeds from their service. Photograph: iStock

Broadband customers are increasingly looking for faster speeds from their service. Photograph: iStock

 

A surge in broadband usage in the Republic prompted by the pandemic looks set to continue as people embrace a hybrid work environment and more digital services for leisure, new research has claimed.

The study, which was carried out by Amarach on behalf of Virgin Media Ireland, found broadband is now considered an essential utility, only ranking behind electricity and water.

The survey questioned more than 1,200 people aged 18 and over across the State.

It found the average home has up to 11 devices connected to the internet, with customers increasingly looking for faster speeds from their service as people engage in more online activity, including streaming services, online shopping and hybrid working.

The average stated speed of broadband subscriptions being purchased is more than 330MB download and streaming capacity, with 20 per cent of respondents buying broadband services offering speeds between 250Mbps and 1 Gbps or higher (gigabits per second).

Unsurprisingly, the study found an increase in video streaming during the pandemic, with 44 per cent of people saying they had increased their usage of such services. About 40 per cent said they watch between two and five hours a day streaming content across a variety of services.

Netflix

However, 70 per cent of people said they would continue to watch the same amount or more content on Netflix even as the restrictions are relaxed.

A third of respondents said they had begun listening to more podcasts and streaming music during lockdown, with 90 per cent intending to continue that. A further third of people said they were reading more books, both online and offline, while 40 per cent are creating and sharing content online.

The survey found 50 per cent of people are shopping more online than they did pre-pandemic, while 80 per cent of people favour a hybrid working model, splitting their time between the office and home.

Paul Higgins, vice-president of commercial for Virgin Media Ireland, said the findings tied in with the company’s own experience.

“This is reflected in our own data with an almost 50 per cent increase usage in May 2021 compared to February last year when, in 2020 as a whole, usage had soared by 80 per cent from 2019,” he said.