Spanish operators beg customers not to screw the network up

All the major Spanish telcos have unveiled a joint statement to customers, asking for fair and reasonable use of the internet during over the foreseeable future.

Many companies are now asking employees to work from home, and in some nations, the government is enforcing the policy. In recent days, the coronavirus impact in Spain has escalated leading to the declaration of a two-week state of emergency and the implementation of a national lockdown similar to the one already imposed in Italy.

In response, the Spanish telco operators are asking customers to be frugal with their connectivity services and products. Networks are already being strained, though these tests will become more aggressive as more people remain in their homes.

In Italy, WhatsApp has said there is a 20% year-on-year increase in the number of messages and calls across the service, while Microsoft has said it has seen a 100% growth in usage of its enterprise productivity application Teams. Telecom Italia CEO Luigi Gubitosi said there has been a 70% increase of internet traffic over the landline network, partly thanks to video streaming and gaming applications such as Fortnite and Call of Duty.

With home broadband networks not necessarily designed for such a rapid increase in data usage consistently throughout the day, the networks are likely to become strained very quickly as parents and children both fight for connectivity resources.

As a precautionary measure, the Spanish telcos have asked customers to adhere to some best practise in an attempt to maintain some sort of tolerable experience:

  • Only download documents which are needed immediately – other documents can be downloaded during off-peak hours
  • Send links to heavy files, as opposed to attaching the document to an email
  • Use a landline where possible not mobile devices
  • Reserve leisure applications, gaming or video streaming, for off-peak hours

The operators are attempting to increase capacity, by putting more equipment into service and increasing the capacity of existing equipment, but these projects are time consuming. It might take days or weeks to scale up capacity throughout the entire network. These activities could be likened to the way in which services are scaled-up in the coastal regions during the holiday season.

Networks are likely to get a test the likes of which the telcos are not prepared for. It the telcos can convince customers to be more responsible with the way in which the internet is used, that will help, but it is not the answer to a challenge which is only likely to get worse in the coming weeks.

  • Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies

One comment

  1. Avatar Not zippy 17/03/2020 @ 3:41 am

    Ms teams now has two people using it. ?

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