So, the world is in a state of a lock-down. With the uncertainty of how things are going to play out, one important question remains – will the COVID-19 continue to grow exponentially throughout the world, or will mankind tackle this issue as it has been throughout history? It really is a time of turmoil that has instilled a great fear among us. However, if there is one thing that each and every individual can do right now in the battle against coronavirus is to stay at our homes and maintain social distance. And that is basically what people are doing right now. They stay at home and use the internet all day long. But what if there is an issue with the internet itself during this pandemic?
Apologies, allow me to correct myself. It is not a question of what if, rather, there’s already a problem with the internet right now. With so many of us maintaining social distance, what else can we do right? Using the internet is great to pass-time. Choose a video on YouTube and get sucked into its loop of infinitely similar videos. Or, you can binge-watch your favorite show that you had been putting off until now due to your busy schedule. But wait, are you facing the problem of slow internet? Well, you’re not alone. And one does not need to be a rocket scientist to know why this is happening.
A sudden surge in traffic
With so many of us sitting at home using the internet all day, it is obvious that its speed decreases. In fact, as per ISPAN (Internet Service Provider Association of Nepal), internet usage has increased by 30% in Nepal right now, since people are stuck at their home due to the coronavirus outbreak. Not only that, but even the voice and data usage has also increased. And it is not just Nepal where the usage has surged dramatically. This past week, popular streaming services like Netflix and Amazon had decided to limit their streaming quality to SD (480p) for at least 30 days in Europe.
This lock-down has hugely affected our lives. Schools and offices have shut-down and employees are being instructed to work from their home. Moreover, the internet is the major source of our information (and misinformation!) right now, so don’t you think that one has to act responsibly right now. I mean our ISPs are not equipped to face this sort of internet usage prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Obviously, with the right equipment, they can improve their service, but it will take time.
In the meantime though, I request you to act and use the internet responsibly. There are people out there who are actually doing researches and more to fight the pandemic and their work requires the use of the internet. Now, I am no position to tell you to stop using the internet altogether. After all, you have paid for the service. However, there are certain things that we can do to help service providers maintain traffic.
ISPAN’s guidelines on using the internet amid the Coronavirus outbreak
These are some basic requests that ISPAN has made public through their press release and few tips from our side too that might be helpful:
- Do not stream videos at the highest available quality during peak internet usage hours.
- Do not change the internet settings right now, as ISPs may not be able to send their support staff for help.
- No torrenting and try to possibly limit the live streams.
- Please do not download huge files until absolutely necessary.
- And be wary of fake rumors and news that’s floating around the internet. Wait for an official notice or news before forwarding anything to your WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber or other social platforms.
- Try to limit your internet usage during peak hours (read books or watch TV maybe)
We don’t know how long this lock-down is going to last. And it is up to us to act as responsible citizens of the country and the world. Stay safe people!
You can learn more about the COVID-19 by visiting this official Google website.