Broadband concerns pop up amid coronavirus lockdowns


In a very basic sense, the Internet seems like the perfect solution for social distancing.


With countries around the world instituting universal policy responses to coronavirus, the use of streaming data and video systems is spiking enormously. That has ramifications for the future of our Net, which, as such a comprehensive vehicle for the delivery of data and services, wasn’t really made to replace public life entirely.


Today, Marguerite Reardon at CNET covers the projected results of unprecedented demand for broadband, noting that Netflix has had to decrease resolution to try to preserve access for more users.


According to Reardon’s reporting, major provider Verizon says voice usage is up 25% with Internet traffic up 22%


Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg suggests that the company is in good shape to handle this peak demand.


“In less than a week, we have transformed this company dramatically,” Vestberg said in a recent press statement. “We’re always built for being prepared for different types of changes in the network, and that’s why we’re coping so good so far in the network.”


In addition, AT&T and Comcast have both said they are confident in their respective network capabilities. Still, some still have questions about continuing solvency.


“The fact that things are holding up reasonably well so far doesn’t mean it will remain so,” says Harold Feld, senior vice president at Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group. “The fact is that we’re putting a lot of pressure on a system that wasn’t designed to take it.”


Some suggest planning ahead.

“If you rely on your home network, then it may be worth considering a backup,” writes Adrian Kingsley-Hughes at ZDNet. “Your smartphone can double as a mobile hotspot, which works well, or you can buy a dedicated mobile hotspot device … having a backup not only allows continuity, but it also means less frustration, which given the current state of the world, it might not be a bad thing.”

So gear up if you’re worried about your home Internet – and factor these concerns into your telecom holdings.