Canadian networks bracing for record Mother’s Day traffic

Planning to phone, text, or video chat with mom or grandma on Sunday in lieu of a personal visit this year? Canadian networks are bracing for what’s anticipated to be record-breaking traffic this Mother’s Day.

With providers already experiencing notably higher demand for internet and wireless data as Canadians work from home, tap into online home schooling resources, and stream entertainment, Doug Burnett, SaskTel President and CEO, is expecting text and video calling numbers to spike on Sunday as families find creative ways to spend time together.

“Mother’s Day has historically been one of busiest days of the year for SaskTel, with over 4 million text messages sent and over 5 million text messages received last year, and we expect to see new records set this year,” said Burnett, in a release.

SaskTel’s usage numbers have jumped across all its lines of services since mid-March. As of late April, the provider had experienced provincial data traffic increases on its DSL and fibre optic networks of 16%; increased demand on its Wireless LTE Network of 34%; and data usage increases on its Fusion Internet network of 46%.  

In releasing its first quarter earnings report this week, TELUS CEO Darren Entwistle also made note of record-high traffic levels, across voice and video calling, messaging, TV viewership and home Wi-Fi.

“By way of illustration, during these peak periods, we experienced traffic rates that were four times those that occurred on Mother’s Day in 2019 – traditionally one of our highest traffic days of the year,” said Entwistle. “Our team’s efforts to sustain our networks during the pandemic is tantamount to supporting Super Bowl-level traffic, every day.”

Bell has reported internet data increases of up to 60% during the day and 20% at night; 40% growth in rural Wireless Home Internet usage; and a 25% increase in live TV viewing. Audience usage on its Crave streaming service is also up 75%. Bell says surges in wireline voice traffic volumes are up 200% at peak times with a 250% increase in conference calling, alongside increased demand for 1-800 services to support public health and other government information lines.

Despite the surge in demand, Bell says it’s been able to deliver 99.99+% network availability across its wireless, wireline and broadcast networks.


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