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Social distancing and broadband sales

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How have social distancing measures affected high speed broadband sales? MoneySuperMarket takes a look...

Have social distancing measures boosted high-speed broadband sales?

Keeping in touch with family and friends over FaceTime or Zoom, video calls for work or home schooling, and more time spent watching Netflix… the impact of COVID-19 means millions more people require strong broadband connections in order to go about their lives remotely.

But what does the ‘new normal’ mean when it comes to the nation’s demand for higher-speed broadband? MoneySuperMarket has analysed its sales data to find out.

According to our broadband sales data*, in the three weeks from 16 March 2020 – when government advice on social distancing and working from home was issued – there was a staggering 99% rise in purchases of the highest broadband speed packages (61+ Mbs) compared with the previous three weeks.

Social distancing and broadband sales

The impact of social distancing on broadband sales

As the initial impact of working from home (WFH) measures settled in, many people decided to look at switching their broadband provider. Our figures show a 32% average daily increase in sales from the three weeks between 16 March to 5 April compared to the preceding three weeks (from 24 February to 15 March).

32% sales increase

The 99% rise in sales in the first three weeks since 16 March this year is even more pronounced when compared to the same period in 2019 when sales actually saw a 33% fall. It also proves it is not a ‘seasonal rise’ in sales.

Broadband sales by speed 2020 Broadband speeds 2019

Versus the year as a whole, sales of high-speed broadband were up 146% during the three-weeks from 16 March to 5 April.

Is it currently possible to switch internet provider?

When social distancing and WFH measures were first implemented, understandably people wanted to ensure they had good quality internet that could cope with heavier usage – but may have been unsure if switching was possible.

However, while a small number of switches may require an engineer to visit your home, the majority are carried out remotely and will therefore be unaffected by the coronavirus outbreak.

If you are still finding that your broadband speed is slower than you would like – especially while there is increased usage during the day – you may want to consider switching to one that offers a faster speed.

Start by checking out average speeds in your area with this broadband speed test and compare the latest deals available.

Whether you choose to switch or not, you will want to make sure your household is fully set up with good working broadband to stay reliably connected.

If you are finding that your internet speed is slower than usual, it could be due to a number of reasons:

  • Number of connected devices: Slow speeds can be caused by having multiple devices connected to your internet, so it’s a good idea to switch off any you’re not using, for example using 4G mobile data for your phone rather than running off the WiFi
  • Other electrical devices: Keep other electrical devices that emit wireless signals as far away from your router as possible as they can cause interference
  • Update your internet browser: Make sure you’re using the most up-to-date browser as this can enable a faster connection as well as improving your online security


*All data on this page is taken MoneySuperMarket broadband sales between 1 January and 26 April 2019 and 1 January and 26 April 2020.

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