To know how the Internet is coping with changes induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two main metrics in some of the countries during February and March, have been hit most by the virus that is: changes in the amount of traffic due to internet usage, and shifts in download speed measured on the servers.
The biggest rise in traffic volume occurred in virtually all regions followed by public policy changes, such as school delays or stay-at-home commands. Similarly, the most drastic declines in download speed also accompanied these policies as communities made the move to remain at home.
With lockdown several countries and so many people working from home, there has been a huge rise in online use, but so far the internet is keeping up fine.
Global Impact of COVID on internet
Authorities track the preservation of internet output in the face of COVID-19 and are now allowing the data accessible as a CSV. The bigger headlines reported recently are:
- Global download speeds recovered to their average rates over mobile and fixed broadband.
- The average download speed over fixed broadband was down 34 percent in Peru, 27 percent in Afghanistan, and 25 percent in Moldova relative with the baseline week of March 2, 2020.
- The average download speed for Lebanon over fixed broadband was 83% higher than the baseline week, while for Qatar it was 38% higher.
- Taiwan saw a rise of 34 percent in the mean download speed and 33 percent in Iraq.
- In Sri Lanka, the average download speed over mobile was down 41 percent compared to the week of baseline. Ethiopia has seen a fall of 32 percent.
- In Trinidad and Tobago, mobile download speed increased by 87 percent relative to the baseline, while Iraq increased by 60 percent and Hong Kong increased by 47 percent.
COVID-19 impact on Cellphone Usage
Mobile phone calls are rising too: Verizon’s 800 million regular calls are double what the network receives on Mother’s Day which is supposed to be the busiest Sunday of the year, mainly for calling through conference numbers.
Smartphone usage is significantly growing, but so is a laptop and desktop usage in all age groups: 72 percent of consumers said they used their phones more but 42 percent said they used their computers more and 31 percent of their desktop PCs in a recent Global Web Index survey.
Impact on Gaming
Another big factor of entertainment, between February and March, the gaming industry reported a 28.54 percent rise in RPS. That involves both game downloads and gameplay, along with the ability to talk via VOIP to fellow gamers.
Impact on Social media
RPS through social media was up significantly of 40.88 percent between February and March as an ability to interact with friends and family although maintaining a safe distance. And, adding a touch of fun to such interactions, GIF and meme developers saw an overall 30.28 percent rise in RPS during the same time span.
What’s the New Normal Now?
Thinking about the future, as lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders rise, it is tough to anticipate that internet traffic will go down again. Microsoft and Akamai both say they should adhere to at least some of the new behavior.
Early Chinese figures say this could be accurate. As with the lifting of the lockout there, the development of teams in China continues to expand with twice as many new Team users per day at the end of March as there were in January.
Video use falls back as social events return to being in person and company users may not feel the same need for human interaction that makes them turn on, but online communication and remote work will persist.