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Canada’s networks see significant traffic increases during COVID-19, fuel productivity: new survey

Young adult using mobile phone on a couch with laptop opened beside them

A new survey shows just how much Canadians are relying on network connectivity during the current health crisis to work from home, learn online, and stay connected to the people and information they need.

Managing Networks in Unprecedented Times, released this week by the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA), found that wireline home internet traffic increased by as much as 48.7% for download traffic and as high as 69.2% for upload traffic. Mobile voice call minutes increased as much as 60%. Mobile data traffic varied across carriers, showing both increases and decreases in mobile traffic volumes.

Network operators surveyed included Rogers, Bell, SaskTel, Shaw/Freedom, Tbaytel, TELUS, and Videotron.

“Canada’s facilities-based network operators had to react quickly, and in some cases retool parts of their operations, to meet new customer requirements. These quick actions and the resiliency of Canada’s telecommunication networks have helped Canadians successfully transition to remote work,” the report said.

The report also cited Aternity’s analysis of data from over 500 Global 2000 companies. It found that “Canadians experienced a 170% increase in remote work since work from home measures were implemented, which resulted in an overall increase in productivity of 25%. Europe and the Unites States experienced the opposite effect, with a decline in productivity of 8.2% and 7.2%, respectively. Increased consumption and new usage patterns resulting from remote work and other changes in customer habits is reflected in the data we have collected,” the CWTA report states.

Looking ahead to our economic review, Canada’s networks will be central to our country’s social and economic well-being, said Roberg Ghiz, president and CEO of the CWTA.

“Our telecommunications networks are the backbone of our digital economy and society. Canadians’ reliance on telecommunications will only continue to grow, as more and more businesses and government services move online. That is why our facilities-based network operators are continuing to invest in expanding the nation’s network infrastructure and introducing transformative new technologies like 5G wireless. It is these investments that will drive Canada’s economic growth, create new jobs, and improve Canadians’ quality of life.”