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Web traffic spikes as lockdown takes effect

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Figures from data infrastructure companies show that Ireland's web traffic over the last week has been 50pc higher than the annual average.

Our online activity is also up over 10pc compared with this time last month, achieving a record spike during the Taoiseach's address to the nation last Tuesday.

The figures, from several large internet and data companies connecting at the Internet Neutral Exchange (Inex), indicate that Ireland's lockdown is placing significant extra demand on the country's internet infrastructure.

With movement restricted and over-70s asked to stay in their homes, there has been a sharp rise in data-hungry online video services, such as Zoom and FaceTime, and movie streaming services.

Over the weekend, Ireland's telecoms regulator, ComReg, said that mobile phone networks are to get more spectrum on a temporary basis to deal with extra demand during the lockdown.

Under the scheme, the three big mobile operators are not expected to be charged any significant fees.

Spectrum rights are normally hotly contested, often resulting in auctions that yield tens of millions in fees.

A week ago, Three removed its 'fair use' limit of 60GB on its 'all-you-can-eat' mobile data plans, to allow people to maximise use of their smartphones during the virus crisis.

Virgin Media has also moved to offer its higher-speed cable broadband packages on a month-to-month basis, without the need for a 12-month contract.

Industry representatives say that they have enough capacity to deal with the higher usage levels, with extra capacity being provisioned in many large data centres and exchanges.

A number of new high-bandwidth services, including Disney's online streaming service Disney+, are expected to add to the country's rising online traffic in the coming weeks.

Irish Independent