We depend on the internet for a lot of things, from staying connected to watching our favorite shows. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most of us indoors, and as a result internet usage has surged. What was once peak capacity is now the new normal, and it’s starting to expose the flaws in the internet. From lack of coverage for people who need it to slowing speeds as more people use it, will this pandemic show us where to reinforce the internet or are we headed for a serious disruption in our communications grid?
More than two-thirds of the population is being asked to remain at home, and many of them are working and doing school over the internet as a result. In 2017 there were 12 million schoolchildren across the country who lacked access to the internet at home, but several ISPs are stepping up to offer free internet access to those who need it for schoolwork.
Bandwidth is another problem entirely. In places where internet traffic has surged the most, ISPs are contracting with competitors to use their unused bandwidth, deploying temporary signal boosters like what would be used for festivals, and some are even asking streaming services to throttle streaming quality so less bandwidth is used.
In residential settings, internet bandwidth has limits. As more people use it for work and school, the infrastructure is showing signs of slowing.
Is the internet in danger from COVID-19? Learn more about the limits of the internet and how they are being addressed from the infographic below
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