Commuter towns  become 'home working hubs' as millions work from home

Commuter towns become 'home working hubs' as millions work from home


Commuter towns including Halifax, Dudley and Reading have become ‘home working hubs’ as millions of UK workers stay away from the office, TalkTalk broadband data reveals

  • TalkTalk data from January to August reveals the increase in internet usage  
  • Collated upload and download data and created a percentage change figure  
  • Reveals lockdown and shift to remote working has caused surge in internet use
  • Huddersfield is the place with the largest spike, at 37 per cent, in the UK  

Commuter-belt towns are the places in the UK which have seen the biggest surge in internet use due to the coronavirus lockdown, TalkTalk data reveals. 

The internet provider has released statistics on how usage of its network changed following the shift to remote working.

It reveals commuter towns have become ‘home working hubs’ for millions and only one major city, Leeds, is in the top 20 of places with the highest increase in usage. 

The places with the biggest spike in usage are towns on the periphery of major towns, such as Milton Keynes, Dudley and Stevenage.  

Broadband use in commuter-belt towns have seen the biggest surge in internet use since the start of lockdown in March, TalkTalk data reveals

Huddersfield saw the biggest percentage increase when accounting for uploads and downloads with an increase of 37 per cent, TalkTalk found. 

Downloads involve receiving something from the internet on a device, whereas uploads are the reverse, sending data from a computer to the internet. 

An example of uploads would be sending emails and video calls.  

Halifax (36 per cent) and Dudley (35 per cent) were second and third place, respectively. 

Towns within a train ride of London populated the top-20, with Kingston, Bromley and Sutton featuring. 

Hemel, Reading and Stevenage also made the top ten. 

Tristia Harrison, Chief Executive Officer at TalkTalk, said: ‘This data shows us just how much lockdown has changed work life patterns. 

‘With a fast, reliable broadband connection, homeworkers can be just as productive as they were in the office. The new hybrid home office working life is here to stay.’

On June 30, during the lockdown, Openreach recorded its biggest ever day for internet consumption. 

June 30 saw more than 189 petabytes of data consumed by customers via Openreach in the UK, smashing the previous record of 184 PB set on June 11.  

An overall increase in internet consumption has been driven by adults working from home and children doing online lessons during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Openreach says that in a pre-lockdown world, average weekly consumption was around 660 petabytes. At the start of June 2020, this soared to almost 1,000 PB. 

However, the record-breaking days on June 11 and now on June 30 were largely due to the mass downloading of enormous Call of Duty updates.    

Ms Harrison adds: ‘With so many towns at the centre of the UK’s home working revolution, it’s never been more important that people have affordable, reliable connectivity and that we invest in our broadband infrastructure outside major urban areas.

‘Our new Homeworker Package caters to those customers and businesses now working from home for the long term. 

‘With an additional business-grade line dedicated to home working, customers in busy households can rest assured that their broadband meets their connectivity needs.’

Places with the biggest increase in internet usage since lockdown

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