Similar to other leading operators around the world, Comcast’s traffic skyrocketed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Claiming the largest internet network in the U.S with assets ranging from fibre network to home wifi, the overall peak traffic on Comcast’s network has increased by 32% as more people across the U.S began working from home, more than triple than over the past month. Even so, the company emphasized that its infrastructure can cope with demand.
Comcast's voice and video calls have skyrocketed by 212%. In some cities, like San Francisco and Seattle, peak traffic is up closer to 60 percent. The company stated that the outbreak of COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented shift in network usage, particularly from applications such as video streaming, linear TV, gaming, IP-based voice applications, video conferencing and virtual private networks.
Comcast data revealed that television linear video consumption increased 4 hours to 64 hours per week with video-on-demand hitting record-breaking increases, rising 25% compared with the same time in March 2019. There was also a 38% increase in the consumption of its streaming and online video services. The company also saw a near-50% increase in voice remote requests for the phrase ‘free movies’ and it has seen voice remote queries surpass 50 million on some days.
After analyzing the shifting patterns of network usage, Comcast noted that the prime periods were dramatically different that of 1 March 2020. Since then, peak traffic has risen by 32% and 60% in some areas. Downstream peak has moved from 21:00 to between 19:00-20:00, while the upstream peak has moved from 21:00, typically due to online gaming applications, to between 08:00 and 18:00 in most U.S cities, reflecting the massive increase in teleworking. Comcast added that sharp early traffic increases in locations such as Seattle and San Francisco were beginning to plateau.
The operator assured that the extra traffic that this usage is still within its network capabilities and that it would it continue to deliver the speeds and support the capacity that customers need while they work and tend to their studies at home. IT said that the peak capacity of the network has been engineered to handle spikes and shifts in usage patterns, investments are regularly made on the network and have thousands of national and local engineers working to add capacity where it’s needed.