But a year on since the pandemic began, the country has also learned much about digital connectivity.
Many will continue to divide their time between homes and offices. Developments that were once expected to take years – such as remote consultations with GPs – have happened in months. And a revolution in online commerce means the economic damage wrought by lockdown has been far less catastrophic than might have been.
Internet traffic has more than doubled since the start of the crisis and few anticipate it going backwards.
On Boxing Day alone, Openreach, the shared digital business that is part of BT, carried a huge 210 petabytes – the equivalent of 210 million episodes of The Crown – as video calls and streaming kept families together and entertained. The changes we now take for granted in how we shop, socialise and study are here to stay, and soon we will want to carry it all with us on the move, too.
It’s true that lockdown has reminded us of all the contact we cherish. Nothing can replace a pint with friends or holidays in the sun with loved ones. But it is also impossible to imagine the last 12 months without the internet to keep us connected.
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