The FarrPoint website uses cookies to improve your on-site experience. Find out more about cookies.
Netflix and Standstill: Streaming quality for stranded post-Brexit lorry drivers


Netflix and Standstill: Streaming quality for stranded post-Brexit lorry drivers

What mobile signal is available for the queues of up to 7,000 lorries expected to be stuck for days on the roads of Kent as of Jan 1st, 2021?

Will mobile coverage allow lorry drivers to call home or watch Netflix?

Queues of up to 7,000 lorries are predicted to descend on Kent as drivers attempt to travel out of the country post-Brexit, prompting some campaigners to fear that the Gateway to England (this will open in a new window)will soon become the Toilet of England - with excessive standstill traffic and not enough restroom stops. Have the drivers considered what they may do for a little light relief when stranded in their cabs in gridlock traffic for up to two days? Is there adequate mobile coverage to allow them to call home or pass the time with their favourite Netflix shows?

Our curiosity got the better of us. So, we decided to use our (this will open in a new window)Mobile Coverage Mapper to map the mobile coverage from the four main mobile operators along major transport routes to Dover and Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Freight. Our talented GIS team then took that coverage data and compared to (this will open in a new window)Netflix streaming thresholds and (this will open in a new window)GSMA Network Experience Evaluation Guidelines to produce an easily interpretable map to show the quality of service on each network.

View our interactive mobile coverage map: (this will open in a new window)HERE.

The results highlight the places you certainly do not want to be stuck for a considerable length of time. No matter what route the lorries take - M20/A20/A2/A256 – all mobile operators experience stretches where there are insufficient speeds to attain Netflix’s recommended minimum streaming speed.

With queues estimated to reach up to 7,000 lorries long, and a length of articulated lorry at 16.5m – the gridlock may surpass 70 miles. From Dover, that would reach far beyond surrounding areas such as: Whitfield (5.8miles), Canterbury (20.2miles), Ramsgate (21.5 miles) and Ashford (25miles). It is a similar picture for the neighbouring Eurotunnel Le Shuttle Freight.

Our independent data also illustrates which lorry parks drivers would be better parked at if they want to be able to use their mobile devices. Ashford’s new park ((this will open in a new window)if functional in time for the Brexit deadline) experiences patchy signal, especially the further South in the lot drivers are forced to reside. (this will open in a new window)Manston Airport proves to be the better connected.

For drivers who want to avoid the patchy areas of their network provider, (this will open in a new window)our map should arm them with the knowledge of areas to dodge if they don’t want their latest binge of The Crown to be interrupted.

Dr Andrew Muir, CEO of FarrPoint said “We saw the predicted disruption near the (this will open in a new window)Kent border crossing and wondered how these drivers would be able to stay connected with families and the outside world whilst essentially stuck for days.
At FarrPoint we take a pragmatic look at the connectivity challenges faced across the UK and internationally, and out of intellectual curiosity we investigated this real-world example of how individuals could be affected.
Our Coverage Mobile Mapper is more frequently used onboard refuse vehicles to map the mobile coverage for our Local Authority clients, but there are so many scenarios where truly independent coverage monitoring could be of real value – outdoor venues, large industrial plant sites and to ensure lone workers are contactable to name a few."

About FarrPoint

FarrPoint provides trusted independent advice on a range of enabling technologies, variously described as digital connectivity, network infrastructure, telecoms, and enterprise IT.

We advise on strategy, technology, procurement and implementation.

We are a team of consulting technologists, economists and data scientists.

We provide experience, expertise and complementary resource to clients in the public and private sectors.

FarrPoint has:

Find out more

Connectivity is important. It drives business and society, bringing communities and commerce together. That's why we use our insight and experience to connect people and business.