A rapid response: how we’ve delivered critical connections during COVID-19

Since the Coronavirus outbreak began, we’ve all been online more than we used to be. And whether it’s accommodating new, flexible ways of working, or requiring bandwidth to operate multiple devices simultaneously while the whole family’s at home, the UK’s need for robust, reliable connectivity has never been clearer. While we’ve seen a slowing in activity for many businesses, some key organisations have seen their role become even more vital. To cope with increased demand during pandemic, many critical organisations have reached out to us with urgent requests for enhanced connectivity. And we’re proud to have answered the call and delivered robust solutions, fast.

Since the outbreak began, we’ve provided rapid responses to 1,176 requests from organisations like the NHS, the Fire Service and leading national supermarkets – in as little as 24 hours, in many cases. Working alongside our partners, we’re playing an important role in keeping the UK connected and supporting the vital work of these organisations, to ensure that the nation is protected and cared for during these challenging times.

  • 18 NHS hospitals – we’ve delivered connectivity to hospitals all over the UK, including the Nightingale in London, so that frontline workers have everything they need to look after their patients.
  • We’ve provided clinicians with extra bandwidth, so they can perform remote consultations, and upgraded connectivity and functionality at NHS sites up and down the country, including 107 doctors’ surgeries and 38 care homes.
  • 19 fire stations have reached out to us too. We’ve supplied enhanced connectivity to these critical sites and enabled one prominent Fire and Rescue service to handle increased call volumes in the wake of COVID-19. This type of project usually takes 65-90 days, but in collaboration with Openreach, we delivered two Ethernet circuits in less than three weeks.
  • 130 schools - we’ve supported connectivity requirements for this vital part of the nation’s infrastructure, so teachers continue to care for and educate the children of key workers.
  • 180 supermarket locations - we’ve worked with a leading, national supermarket chain on an emergency strategy to maintain the food supply in the UK. We’ve upgraded bandwidth at nearly 200 new click and collect locations, following the spike in demand on basic food items.

How has our netowrk performed?

While our movement is restricted, the internet is enabling us to work, shop, learn, be entertained and stay connected. For many businesses, this vital connectivity plays a crucial role in keeping them operational, and high-bandwidth apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom have almost become ubiquitous for keeping in touch with their workforce and their customers.

Unsurprisingly, overall usage of our network has increased by 30%, but our engineers have worked around the clock to optimise our network and make sure we can handle the rise. As more and more of our customers conduct business by phone, we’ve also witnessed a 10% rise in voice traffic, and our network is now accommodating 6 million voice calls every day.

We’re proud with how our network has been able to handle this unprecedented increase in activity. This outcome is the result of the time and investment we’ve put in to building a business grade network that delivers a fast, reliable experience for our customers. And findings from industry regulator Ofcom, published in May, confirm our network truly is industry leading.

Ofcom’s data shows that on average over any given 24-hour period, we have the fastest average download speeds on both our Faster Fibre and Superfast Fibre products versus BT, Sky, Plusnet and Vodafone equivalents to those products*.

This means that if you’re on our business grade Superfast Fibre package, as well as enjoying unlimited usage, on average you can experience some of the fastest start up speeds on the video conferencing programs mentioned above or simply when loading web pages.

TalkTalk Business is proud to support 300,000 businesses of all sizes across the UK, which equates to 15% of businesses operating nationally. If your business could you benefit from our business-grade, superfast connectivity, please contact our team on 0800 458 4581 for small business information and 0808 163 3868 for information relating to mid and Enterprise level businesses.

*According to data from Ofcom, the industry regulator, comparing average download speeds over 24 hours (in November 2019) for TalkTalk's Faster Fibre and TalkTalk's Superfast Fibre versus BT's Fibre Essential and BT's Fibre 2, Sky's Superfast Fibre, Plusnet's Unlimited Fibre and Plusnet's Unlimited Fibre Extra, Vodafone's Superfast 1 and Vodafone's Superfast 2. The data can be found here and here.