High download rates for COVID Tracker App as close to 70% say they will take Vaccine - Research

Virgin Media Research shows broadband contributes to health and wellbeing during crisis


In-Home WiFi usage on Virgin Media Ireland’s network increases 22% (March – June). Overall broadband usage leaps by 40%


4th August 2020: In the fight back against the spread of COVID-19, using technology and the internet, 82% of people say they have already downloaded (60%) or will download (22%) the Government’s recently launched COVID-19 tracker app, research has indicated.


This detail emerges from research commissioned by Virgin Media Ireland and conducted independently by Amárach Research, surveying 2,000 people aged 18 and upwards in mid-July across all regions of the country. The research focused on broadband and its connection with health and wellbeing.


In the research, nearly 7 in 10 people (67%) also said they would avail of a vaccine if and when it becomes available.


Virgin Media Ireland’s research shows people have relied heavily on broadband to support their physical and mental health while staying at home during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis - with the majority saying they have been using the internet more regularly for health related information and support.


The findings indicate that people have been concerned for both their physical and mental health during the crisis.


  · While 80% said their physical health remained good during this time, approximately 4 in 10 people felt that their mental health ranged from poor to middling during the current pandemic and recent lockdown. Many used broadband and online services for advice, information and support during this time.


  · 20% of those surveyed gave a specifically low rating for their mental health with others rating their mental wellbeing as average (17%) and the remainder saying they felt very good / excellent (63%).


  · Using the Internet as a resource, 22% of respondents also said they had accessed content on blogs and websites about mental health and wellbeing while 14% watched videos providing mental health advice, support and coping skills.


  · 14% of people said they had consulted either their doctor, another health professional and/or received counselling, coaching or support services, in relation to their mental health, using online video meeting technology. Indicating the continuing potential for this use of technology, 37% said they are likely or highly likely to seek consultation or support in this way in the future.


  · The Virgin Media Ireland research found a strong correlation among those who said that both their physical and mental health had stayed resilient during the crisis to date, providing a pointer to the importance of exercise and good physical health as a contributory factor in boosting mental health.


  · Virgin Media found that people are intent on staying fit, no matter the circumstances with nearly two-thirds (65%) taking part in live, online fitness and training classes more often then they usually would and 30% saying this will continue in the future.


  · Half of all respondents said they had accessed a mix of videos, podcasts, blogs and social media specifically to support their wellbeing during the lockdown, with 40% saying they would continue to watch online videos and listen to podcasts about diet, health and fitness.


  · 60% said they also participated more often in online competitions against family, friends and colleagues regarding their health, using Internet connected devices (like Fitbit or others) to count steps walked and other fitness challenges, with 30% saying this will continue.


Broadband and WiFi usage soars


  · The research indicates a widespread use of broadband to avail of online services and supports, and this is borne out by metrics released by Virgin Media Ireland which show a 40% increase in data usage and a 22% increase in WiFi usage across its high speed residential broadband network during the period from March to June inclusive (2020).


  · These results also correlate with Virgin Media Ireland’s own information highlighting an increase in overall connected devices in their customers’ homes with the average now over 10 devices per household.


Paul Higgins, Vice-President, Virgin Media Ireland said, “The current crisis has created a lot of stress for many people. It’s clear that broadband has role to play in supporting ongoing resilience and wellbeing, helping people stay connected to health and fitness related activities, access information they need to stay well and, most importantly staying in regular contact with people in their own families and in the wider community, whether that’s social or work related.


Households have been using our high speed broadband more than ever before as millions have stayed at home while staying connected to loved ones and the activities they enjoy. There has been a surge in video usage across the Virgin Media network with upstream traffic increasing by 73%. With a 52% increase in connected devices we’re seeing more people in the home using the internet for more activities including fitness wearables. The research shows more people engaging with live fitness classes taking place over zoom and other platforms which is also driving some of this increase.


“We’ve designed our network to cope with the different patterns of usage our customers need to live their lives in these new and different circumstances. Broadband and connectivity have a key role to play in the country’s ongoing renewal, recovery and future continuing success and we’ll continue to help customers in making connections that really matter to them.”