Why broadband is under strain and voice networks so popular?

In this time of worldwide lockdown, Skype, Google Meet and Zoom Video have more than ever become household names as people flock to those video chat platforms to connect with work colleagues, family and friends. According to Ookla Speedtest, the global leader in internet testing, internet infrastructure is likely to struggle under the weight of quarantine-related traffic as we are witnessing a wave of outages correlated to current traffic spikes. 

With broadband under strain, companies such as Netflix have decided to lower their streaming quality,  offering only standard definition, rather than high-definition, to keep their services accessible to the widest audience. Indeed, as mentioned by Thierry Breton, one of the European commissioners in charge of Digital Policy, streaming platforms and telecoms companies had a “joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet” during the crisis, so that domestic broadband connections could handle the charge.

On the other hand, voice networks are experiencing a surge in popularity thanks to their strong structural backbone that keeps operating. The Spanish telecoms industry even issued a warning to ask customers to use their landline phones for voice calls and avoid mobile networks, to flatten the connectivity curve. 

Voice calls using phone networks appear like a robust alternative to broadband calls due to the current network saturation and Commissioner Breton advises both individuals and organisations to be reasonable with their data usage to avoid a broadband overload.  Resorting to audio calls stands as a sound solution that is not currently exposed to network cuts or decrease in quality. Check out this article from the Financial Times: “EU warns of broadband strain as millions work from home”

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