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Work-from-home clogs I-way, data speeds go down

By Sachin P Mampatta and Neha Alawadhi
April 09, 2020 11:58 IST
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The average mobile phone data speed nowadays is down over 20 per cent. Fixed broadband has seen an eight per cent decline in speed. The analysis is based on data from Ookla, a global provider of data on Internet speeds. 

Photograph: Courtesy, Pixabay.com.

Prior to the lockdown, the throng of commuters during rush hour used to clog the roads. But with the curbs paving the way for work from home, it is the Internet that is getting clogged now. 

The average mobile phone data speed nowadays is down over 20 per cent. Fixed broadband has seen an eight per cent decline in speed. The analysis is based on data from Ookla, a global provider of data on Internet speeds. 

It looked at data for the week ending April 5. This was compared to the average speed during the four weeks prior to the lockdown. 

 

It showed that the average mobile download speed for the week ending April 5 was down 20.9 per cent. The upload speed was down 16.3 per cent. Download speed was down 8 per cent on the fixed segment while upload speed was down 9.9 per cent. 

A recent report from Bobble AI, which tracks usage of mobile applications, showed that people are increasingly looking to the Internet to meet work, social and entertainment needs. 

The use of platform like Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon Prime have seen an 82.6 per cent increase. People are spending 46.3 per cent more time on social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp. 

Fitness and education have also been in demand as people look to meet their goals through Net-based resources like Home Workout and Udemy. 

The active user count of video conferencing applications has also seen a significant increase. Applications like Zoom and Houseparty have seen a 71.1 per cent increase in time spent. Active user count has witnessed a 104.1 per cent increase. 

The experience of other countries in a lockdown has been similar. There had been an increase in the use of the Internet in the United States, China and Europe.  Companies like Netflix, subsequently, reduced the bandwidth they use to reduce the load on the Internet across the world, including in India. 

“We continue to see degradation in monthly speeds for fixed broadband at the global level with mobile broadband showing its first month of decreased speeds in March 2020,” said a statement from Ookla. 

Meanwhile, China, which had first seen a lockdown because of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), had also witnessed a similar increase in its Internet load. This has now started to come off, according to the company. 

It has started to see an increase in mobile and fixed download speeds. Fixed broadband download speed is up 24.2 per cent while mobile download speed has gone up 76.9 per cent.

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Sachin P Mampatta and Neha Alawadhi in Mumbai
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