Canadian telecom companies says COVID-19 causing surge in demand for services

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OTTAWA — Canadian telecom companies say demand for their services has surged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rogers Communications Inc. told a House of Commons committee that home internet usage is up more than 50 per cent, voice call usage on its wireless network is 40 per cent higher, and 1-800 toll-free calls have risen more than 300 per cent.

The Toronto-based company says its customers are making more than 50 million wireless voice calls per day while use of toll-free lines has augmented to access federal support programs.

Telus says the novel coronavirus has exposed how important connectivity is to all Canadians with the Vancouver-based company consistently experiencing four times the network traffic of its busiest day pre-COVID.

Between March 18 and 31st, Telus has moved virtually all its call agents to work from home and facilitated more than 30,000 doctor appointments since launching its virtual visit platform in April.

Cogeco Communications Inc. says that since the beginning of the crisis, there has been 60 per cent greater use of internet service during the day, a 40 per cent boost in traffic for video on demand, a 20 to 40 per cent growth in video-streaming services, including Netflix, and added use of telephony services.

Xplornet Communications Inc., the largest rural-focused internet provider, says it has seen a 30 to 40 per cent increase in daytime use and has suspended overage fees to the end of June.

“The pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance of expanding access to rural broadband. The remote work, video meeting and online learning tools we have all become all too familiar with recently are enabled by fast, affordable internet connection,” C.J. Prudham, executive vice-president and general counsel, said in a virtual presentation to MPs.

 

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