Internet speed of mobile and fixed line decline in March

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Published: April 10, 2020 3:00:39 AM

As per Ookla, which provides analysis of broadband speed across mobile and fixed line networks, in India, there was a slight dip in mean mobile download speed to 10.15 mbps in March as compared to 11.83 mbps in February.

As a result of that, data usage, primarily mobile, has risen over by 20%. As a result of increased usage, the speeds have dropped due to congestion in networks.As a result of that, data usage, primarily mobile, has risen over by 20%. As a result of increased usage, the speeds have dropped due to congestion in networks.

Internet speed on both mobile as well as fixed line broadband networks have come down as more and more people are doing their work online due to lockdown in the country in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

As per Ookla, which provides analysis of broadband speed across mobile and fixed line networks, in India, there was a slight dip in mean mobile download speed to 10.15 mbps in March as compared to 11.83 mbps in February. Similarly, the mean fixed broadband speed has been declining since the beginning of 2020 — from 41.48 mbps in January to 35.98 mbps in March — a drop by 5.5 mbps.

The lockdown across the country has been in place since March 25 but even before that most of the companies had asked employees to work from home. As a result of that, data usage, primarily mobile, has risen over by 20%. As a result of increased usage, the speeds have dropped due to congestion in networks.

“When networks are under usage strain, like they are in this unprecedented time of lockdown in India due to Covid-19, it is natural that they experience some level of slowdown,” said Doug Suttles, CEO of Ookla.

As a result of the increase, operators have recalibrated their networks wherever possible and any sharp drop in internet speed is not witnessed. The telcos also feel that they don’t need more spectrum, on temporary basis, to meet the increased demand as the data increase has stabilised now and networks can handle the increased usage. This is in contrast to some western countries and US where governments have provided additional spectrum to meet the demand.

Suttles further said it is important to note that while the internet itself should handle elevated usage, there may be impacts on speed as people continue to move their daily activities increasingly online. “While the core of the internet remains stable, some ISP networks may struggle to keep up,” Suttles added.

To keep the congestion levels low in networks, the government and mobile operators have asked all the video streaming companies to like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar etc. to reduce their content to standard definition (SD) from high definition (HD), a move which has given additional 20% capacity.

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