COVID-19 has caused disruptions across the world. There is no industry that has been left untouched by the effect of Coronavirus pandemic. The outbreak has also impacted internet performance and data consumption thus adding a load to internet service providers. It is interesting to see how this sudden change in consumption has brought new opportunities for the growing sector while the average speed keeps decreasing.
Let’s have a clear picture of the impact of COVID-19 on internet companies
The novel Coronavirus is a biological virus and not a digital ‘virus’ that can affect the performance of a device then, how has Coronavirus affected internet speed?
Many nations have imposed lockdowns due to COVID-19. While such measures are in place people are not allowed to venture outside for non-essential activities. This has caused many firms to adopt ‘Work-from-Home’ culture where an employee is not required to attend the office daily but they can work at home. Due to new prominence of work from home, every interaction between the employee and other staff members is now happening digitally including meeting over video calls that consume a lot of bandwidth. Simple ideas and doubts that were verbally discussed between the staff are now being discussed through modern internet-based apps or portals.
Lockdowns have also forced children to stay at home and study from home. Students who sat in class together are now separated at their homes. Schools have made learning more advanced with digital services like e-learning platforms and online classes so that the COVID-19 lockdown does not add knowledge loss for students. This has brought a lot of active internet users on board as a child’s education is essential for all parents. The online classrooms are often held over video calls that consume a big chunk of data as compared to other mediums of communication.
Due to closure of entertainment parks and movie theatres, people have moved to video streaming services amid the COVID-19 lockdown. The average session time and the number of users on such platforms have increased exponentially since February 2020 when lockdown first appeared on global maps. The craze for streaming has become a global phenomenon and internet service providers had to request streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to reduce their video quality to decrease the load on the network.
According to internet testing and analysis firm Ookla’s speedtest application, United Arab Emirates (UAE) topped the global index for mobile internet speed in March 2020. The average mobile internet speed in UAE was measured to be 83.52 Mbps (download) and which is almost thrice the global average of 30.47 Mbps (download).
The country also boasted an average download speed of 100.95 Mbps over fixed broadband services greater than the global average of 74.64 Mbps. While every other nation struggled to keep up their services, UAE improved rankings on the charts. With the help of latest technological advancements, the country enjoyed the best internet speed in the Middle East and the best mobile data performance in the world.
Singapore topped Fixed broadband speed according to data from Ookla’s global speed index March 2020 findings. The country had an average download speed of 197.26 Mbps against global average of 74.64 Mbps during the month. However, the mobile internet speed in Singapore was noted to be only 54.37 Mbps.
COVID-19 has brought many opportunities and challenges for internet service providers. While average internet performance may have declined, the revenue and new user acquisition have grown tremendously. Many first time users have come across platforms which they did not know about. ‘Online businesses’ have shown an increase in user traffic and activity. It cannot be predicted as of now if service providers will be able to retain the user traffic but the COVID-19 lockdown has brought many opportunities for them in the basket.