2023 peak internet traffic forecast to rise by a fifth as post-pandemic demand continues to grow due to streaming and gaming updates


  • TalkTalk network data shows that average peak¹ usage by end of 2022 was above peak levels in 2020
  • Average peak network usage up by a fifth (21%) since previously unprecedented pandemic levels
  • TalkTalk forecasts that peak usage could rise by another 20% by the end of 2023
  • TalkTalk CTO Phil Haslam attributes growth to continued hybrid working, roll out of 1GB broadband but without doubt the biggest driver is the growth in streaming and downloads across a variety of platforms be it gaming or IPTV

22nd February 2023: Average peak internet usage in the UK is higher now than it was during the height of the pandemic, according to network data from connectivity provider TalkTalk.

TalkTalk’s latest usage data, taken from households and businesses across the whole TalkTalk Group network, shows average peak traffic has risen by a fifth (21%) since 2020, with the average evening peak of 7.23 Tbps in 2022 vs 5.95 Tbps in 2020.

A new usage spike has already been seen on TalkTalk’s network this year, with a record of 10.25 Tbps being set on 15th February. This was due to season 2 updates of the popular Call of Duty video games followed by football matches - Arsenal vs Manchester City on Amazon Prime and Chelsea vs Borussia Dortmund on BT Sport. TalkTalk’s latest peak record is the equivalent of downloading 427.08 hours of HD video per second.

The pandemic led to previously un-seen levels of internet usage as people spent more time at home during lockdown rather than socialising and hybrid working became the de facto working model. This data shows that many of the online behaviours adopted in 2020 are here to stay, underlining the importance of widely available and affordable fibre broadband.

TalkTalk’s data suggests that broadband use is set to increase again in 2023. Its modelling predicted a 20% rise in peak usage this year, increasing to 95% by 2027. Phil Haslam, Chief Technology Officer at TalkTalk, has outlined five key drivers that are set to influence the increase in internet usage over the coming years.

Avid Gamers moving to the Metaverse and VR
With an estimated 46.7 million gamers in the UK², appetite for virtual reality and immersive gaming is set to soar in the next five years. Resulting in higher broadband usage. In 2022, TalkTalk research found 29% of gamers have already played in the Metaverse, with a further 37% saying they plan to do so in the future³.

- Increase of on-demand streaming and catch-up services
The decline of traditional satellite TV consumption together with the growth of streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime has driven broadband usage sky high. These services are now on the rise among over 65s according to TalkTalk research, with internet usage increasing by 69% during the pandemic, and 54% saying how streaming is now among their favourite hobbies⁴. We expect this trend to increase further in the next 5 years, with a wider range of age groups consuming entertainment online.

Prevalence of 4k and 8k streaming
Users want to stream content online at the highest possible quality. The rise in 4k video including live content will drive greater data download speeds requiring higher bandwidth connectivity and new Wi-Fi technologies such as Wi-Fi 7 and beyond. We also expect the majority of everyday viewers to upgrade to 4k and 8k in the next 5 years.

- Hybrid working is here to stay
Since the pandemic, working patterns have shifted dramatically, with people continuing to work remotely for an average of 3.6 days a week globally. With 88% of employees also hybrid working every Friday⁵, this has increased at-home broadband usage significantly. We expect this upward trend of broadband usage to continue, with key drivers including increased business cloud adoption using higher volumes of data.

- Users moving 1GB+ connectivity
We predict internet users will opt for higher usage connectivity of 1GB and above across our base, as opposed to 80mb or 150mb FTTP. 1GB, also known as Gigabit broadband, is the Government’s over-arching target for future proofing the UK’s broadband access. Their aim is to reach 99% coverage of the UK by 2030⁶.

Phil added: “Internet usage has increased significantly over the last few years – with record levels during the pandemic that have continued to rise – so having fast, reliable connectivity has never been more important. Especially as there are no signs of usage slowing down, as technologies and capabilities develop to enrich customer experience with ever more choice.

“At TalkTalk, we strive to offer our customers the latest technology, through both partners and our own innovations, alongside superior performance and speed - which is why we continue to work tirelessly to ensure our network is futureproof. With TalkTalk’s growing portfolio of industry-leading partners such as Amazon, Netflix, NOW and Android TV, our customers have access to the best technology and entertainment experience possible.”

For more information about TalkTalk and the services it provides, visit https://new.talktalk.co.uk/.


Notes to Editors

TalkTalk’s Average and Peak Network Usage In 2020, 2021 and 2022

Calendar Year

Peak Traffic Estimate











Calendar Year

Peak Traffic

Average Peak










2023 to date

10.25 (Feb23)


¹Average Peak = Average of the daily evening peak traffic across the year

²Europe: Number Of Gamers in 2021 | Statista

³Metaverse research was conducted in January 2022 carried out by Mortar Research which conducted an online survey among 1,060 respondents across the UK. Respondents were screened to target people between the age of 18-55, and play online games.

⁴TalkTalk commissioned national poll of 1,000 over 65s by Mortar research in December 2021.

Two thirds of desks empty as staff stay home most of week | News | The Times. A study of 80 offices in 13 countries representing 80,000 employees, November 2022.

Gigabit broadband | Check if you can get 1Gb download speeds (choose.co.uk).

⁷TalkTalk’s long-range forecast is subject to variability from customer volumes, usage trends changes and uptake of higher bandwidth FTTP products.