Telecommuting storm: Homebound users head to the wireline Internet

Broadband service providers got a taste of what might be called the Mother's Day of Internet usage when a monster storm stranded workers at home, turning them into a new mass of telecommuters pushing the limits of their wireline connections.

Overall bandwidth use was up "between 40 and 50 percent" as Wide Open West users in Michigan started "working from home or enjoying the day off online" in Michigan, Mark Dineen, vice president and general manager of WOW's Michigan operations said. At Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), customers were "flying on the Net" and creating a "notable increase" in traffic, said Patrick Paterno, director of Communications for Comcast's Michigan region.

Perhaps most telling for wireline providers is that the traffic was mostly on their networks. Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) saw a slight increase in traffic but "most individuals, if they're working from home, while they have WiFi and may have been connected to wireless devices, don't necessarily use a wireless connection within their own homes," said Michelle Gilbert, public relations manager of Verizon Wireless in the wide-reaching Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky regions.

For more:
- Crain's Detroit Business has this story

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