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Are Internet Infrastructure the Next Victim of the Coronavirus Pandemic?

The European Union has taken the possibility of an internet breakdown very seriously

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has forced a lot of people, with the number running into the billions worldwide, to stay indoors as precautionary measure. The implication for this “stay at home season” is that a lot more people than usual now rely on the internet for entertainment and communication. Working from home has become the new norm. Students rely on the internet for online learning, and there is added usage on social media applications not to add the increased number of people watching shows and movies.

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The internet is under a lot of stress, and telecommunication companies are worried because of the data being consumed. For most professionals and players in the industry, the danger is not imminent. They admit that it is a problem, but it has not become a serious cause for alarm.

Not wanting to be caught off guards, the European Union has taken the possibility of an internet breakdown very seriously. They perhaps understand the unimaginable difficulties that may arise from such a scenario, and they are no taking it lightly. This has led to a reaction from the giant companies that provide internet infrastructure. The coronavirus pandemic has forced Google, Apple, Netflix, and Amazon to put in place measures to control the use of data on the internet.

There is currently a restriction placed on the streaming of videos in High Definition. Videos in HD consume much more data, and if it continues at a high rate, then the fears of a possible breakdown of internet infrastructure may not be far-fetched.

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The signs of danger include a rapid decrease in the speed of data usage, discontinued video calls, and heavy streaming. Some of the telecommunication companies around the world run the risk of not being able to provide continuous services if there is a significant increase in the usage of data. Companies such as Airtel and Vodafone Idea will struggle according to experts. At the moment, they are already struggling, and it does not seem likely that they would hold up any more consumption at a high rate.

In a country like Malaysia, experts have been able to analyze that the coronavirus pandemic is evolving into a crisis, especially as it affects their internet infrastructure. These experts noticed a fluctuation in the overall speed of the country’s internet. The only reason, according to them, was a strain on the network, which is caused by a lot of data consumption. The increased data connection in Malaysia is caused by the fact that a lot of people are substituting their regular daily activities for internet activities. People staying at home either by their own volition or government orders are in a bid to curb and control the coronavirus pandemic, which is currently threatening to consume the whole world.

One particular data analyst says that activities on the internet, such as working and studying from home or generally seeking for online entertainment is putting a general strain and maybe imminent breakdown of internet infrastructure.

Stated more clearly by the same expert, he says that when a lot more people are turning on Netflix, making more TikTok videos, playing online games such as Fortnite or just the use of the more regularly used social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram which a lot of people now do more often out of boredom or idleness has had a severe blow on the internet infrastructure and its quality. It no longer comes as a surprise that the European Union requested that some of the service providers such as Netflix to restrict access to HD streaming.

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The coronavirus pandemic is said to have originated in China, and it hit the whole continent of Asia hard. The death and other economic consequences that ravaged china seemed to follow the pandemic to Europe. The continent has been a major casualty of the pandemic. European Union countries such as Italy, Spain, France, and England have been battling with the consequences of the pandemic. Italy, especially, has suffered the most. The governments of these countries have put in policies and orders to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. They have shut down means of transportation in and out of the countries; the population of these countries has been banned from having public gatherings that may endanger their lives. The general effect of this indoor lifestyle is felt heavily on the internet.

A continent such as Africa has not begun to feel the full weight of the strain on internet infrastructure. The cases of coronavirus pandemic are not as much as it is on Asia and Europe, so people in the continent are reportedly still going about their business with only a fewer number staying indoors to quarantine. Evidently, any region or part of the world that attempts to adopt the indoor lifestyle will notice a spike in their internet usage, which will consequently lead to a slower, poorer quality of the network. Internet infrastructure, if the coronavirus pandemic persists, will be a major casualty.

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The reaction of most telecommunication companies has been to reduce access to high data consuming content. Google has administrative control over YouTube, which happens to be one of its subsidiaries. YouTube is a provider of high definition content that a lot of people have begun to use more often since the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic. In the absence of the pandemic, YouTube reportedly has over one billion hours of its videos watched daily, and this number has gone off the roof since the outbreak. Google, in a bid to put a lid on the issue, has reduced the number of bits per second transmitted every second on the platform to avoid a crash.

Other companies such as Alphabet and Netflix were approached by the heads of the European Union with a request for them to standardize their content so that the continent would not experience a total breakdown of their internet infrastructure as they are already struggling with a lag. The companies understanding how this might be in their mutual interest to do so have adhered to these content standardization forms.

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