Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, August 1
With the lockdown pushing people to stay indoors to prevent themselves from the deadly virus, the pattern of internet usage has changed in an unprecedented manner during this time.
Earlier, people going online peaked in the evenings and night hours, but, since the past four months, there is constantly a heavy traffic of internet users. The service providers claim that there was a massive surge in the number of users during the lockdown that eventually led to sluggishness in the data speed. From recreation to education and employment — everything has gone online. Hence, mobile internet was not enough for most of the users so they opted to get wired broadband connections to meet their requirements.
While users including teachers holding online classes complained about slow data speed, the service providers said, they tried resolving all data-related issues to provide customers better access to the internet.
Sunil Kumar, principle general manager, BSNL, Jalandhar, said: “The internet connectivity in the last four months has extended to such an extent that two servers were installed in Delhi to manage the data traffic in the northern region. At present, around 500 landline connections, 600 broadband connections providing 8-10 mbps speed and around 3,000 fibre connections providing 50 mbps speed are being installed in urban as well as rural areas in the district on a monthly basis. As per the data consumption trend, we observed that apart from online work and studies people were consuming a lot of data for over-the-top (OTT) platforms and online games such as PUBG that requires high internet connectivity. Therefore, to cater to the data speed related complaints, employees on outsourcing basis have been recruited, who have been given the target of resolving 80 per cent complaints every day.”
Apart from constant buffering challenges, high data prices kept consumers at the receiving end. People working in MNCs, who had returned after the lockdown was imposed, said they had to purchase better data plans for uninterrupted meetings and conferences.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in its recent report on broadband speed chart also mentioned that during the lockdown period, the download speed of telecom operators reduced significantly. While Reliance Jio touched a low of 13.3 megabits per second (mbps), Vodafone fell to 5.6 mbps, Airtel to 5.5 mbps and Idea to 5.1 mbps. However, companies also bounced back by maintaining the pre lockdown speed. Jio topped in 4G speed chart with an average download speed of 16.5, followed by idea (8 mbps), Vodaphone and Bharti Airtel.
Meanwhile, Airtel Punjab spokesperson, said: “Owing to people consuming internet for working from home, education and OTT platforms, the volume of 4G connections for this year’s quarter (including lockdown months) went up by 45 per cent compared to last year’s quarter. Besides considering data traffic, per user mobile data traffic at present stands at 16.3 per cent GB per user. Similarly, in March and April, only 1.5 lakh new users were added in Punjab.”
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