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Friday, February 26, 2021

Virus pushes up data use

People across the U.S. are more reliant on the internet than ever as millions work and study from home. But that doesn’t mean the companies that keep us connected are going to benefit. Home internet use is up dramatically. The trade group USTelecom says average internet traffic has risen just over 25% for its five largest companies, among them AT&T and Verizon. Comcast says its peak internet traffic is up 32% on average — 60% in some areas — as people stream more video, download games, and video conference more. The peak refers to when use is heaviest. Internet service providers may also suffer during a recession. People who lose their jobs may cut cable service even faster than they did before; some may drop home internet entirely. Roughly one-fifth of U.S. adults already use just their phones for internet. Young adults may delay getting homes of their own and signing up for their own service. Some ISPs, like Comcast and AT&T, are also entertainment companies. They are strongly affected by declines in TV advertising and the shutdown of many theme parks and movie theaters around the world.

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