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ISPs Report Higher Internet Use On Christmas Day

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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BT and Virgin Media report an increase in data consumption and the number of devices connected to their network on Christmas Day

Christmas Day is generally seen as a day for quality family time and reflection, but figures from two of the UK’s biggest ISPs found a sharp increase in the amount of time people spend online.

BT said data use on its network increased by 95 percent as customers unwrapped brand new smartphones and tablets, with a surge taking place just before lunchtime. This was driven by software downloads and video streaming.

Overall, the time on BT Wi-Fi spent during the festive period went up 35 percent, increasing by 725 million minutes and 700 million megabytes.

Christmas Internet

Father Christmas phone selfie snapchat © Tyler Olson Shutterstock“The Christmas period was a record-breaking time for BT Broadband and BT Wi-Fi usage, as people connected their new devices to the internet,” said Pete Oliver, managing director of BT Consumer. “Getting online has obviously become an essential part of the celebrations during the festive season, whether it’s shopping online for presents, actually connecting those devices given as presents, or video-calling friends and family to wish them a happy Christmas or New Year.”

Virgin Media also reported rising use on Christmas day, noting that the average home had at least five devices connected at peak times between 5pm and 10pm, with the majority being smartphones. In February, it said 60 percent of customers had least three devices connected, up from 37 percent in 2014.

Not that this came as any great surprise. A survey prior to Christmas showed that two thirds of Brits planned to go online on 25 December, with one in ten even suggesting they would give up booze in exchange for Wi-Fi access.

Apple reported that iOS users spent a record £750 million on the App Store over the festive period.

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