One day we were living our normal everyday lives. And the next the internet became our lifeline to living as normally as we could in a pandemic world. From working remotely, to attending school from home and communicating with loved ones; the internet quickly became a necessity that we all relied on more than ever before, and internet has improved rapidly to keep up with our demands.
From the first reports of the coronavirus in December 2019 to late March when the majority of the country went into lockdowns and social distancing, internet traffic substantially increased practically overnight. More people than ever before started using video calls, ordering groceries online, played games online and more, replacing what was once human interactions in favor of virtual interactions that slowed the spread of the virus.
While the world was adjusting, everyone felt the strain to adapt, especially internet providers as they had to figure out ways to handle the increased usage. From then on, in the United States the state of the internet has improved and here’s how:
- 1 Shined A Light On How Essential Internet Is
- 2 Introduced New Ways To Stay In Touch With Family & Friends
- 3 Increased Remote & Work From Home Jobs
- 4 Expanded Eligibility For Low Cost Internet Programs
- 5 Forced Internet Providers To Improve Internet Performance
- 6 Got Internet Providers To Look At Reducing Their Costs
- 7 Increased Revenue Opportunities For Internet Providers
Shined A Light On How Essential Internet Is
The internet has improved. Previously it used to be considered a luxury. But the coronavirus has proven that the internet is essential. And that it’s vital that we address the digital divide in this country once and for all. The gap between those who do and those who do not have access to the internet is devastating. To people’s ability to make a living, learn, and even stay up to date with what’s going on in the world especially in underserved, unserved and low-income households.
Introduced New Ways To Stay In Touch With Family & Friends
To stay healthy and slow the spread of the coronavirus, everyone has had to do their part in social distancing, quarantining if need be and to not gathering in large groups. This made major holidays and family get-togethers impossible in person. To stay in touch with family, friends and coworkers, we all had to adapt to new digital ways to communicate. With video conferencing software like Zoom, Skype, and Facetime, internet has improved in its own way.
While it was weird to get used to seeing and conversing with people over video, we used to see in person on a regular basis, it also presented new opportunities to make it easier to stay in touch with those we didn’t.
Increased Remote & Work From Home Jobs
We all had to continue to live our lives and make a living somehow. Businesses who could have workers remotely started once capacity restrictions in indoor places happened. Businesses who were opposed to the idea of remote work in the past, saw how the internet has improved and opened their minds out of necessity to survive and many maintained remote work since we beat the curve.
Expanded Eligibility For Low Cost Internet Programs
Low-cost internet programs existed before the pandemic for households that met certain public assistance or income requirements. However, since the pandemic began the FCC established a whole new program to continue to help low-income families pay for necessary internet service under the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. The Internet has improved in this way as well. This program gives eligible households up to $50 a month to help pay for broadband internet service and a onetime discount of $100 on a computer or tablet. At this time there is no word to what will happen to this program once we overcome the coronavirus or when the funds run out.
Forced Internet Providers To Improve Internet Performance
The huge surge in demand at all hours of the day was putting a strain on internet providers and was slowing down their network for everyone. Many internet service providers simply couldn’t handle so many users online or all their requests simultaneously because there wasn’t enough bandwidth to go around to adequately compensate for the increase. Customers immediately started to experience slow speeds, intermittent connectivity and outages worldwide in areas that already had limited and outdated infrastructure.
All of this forced internet providers to quickly address the steady increase of customer complaints and improve the internet connection. Some internet providers looked to edge tech providers to improve infrastructure in ways to better manage the increased capacity without compromising on advertised internet speeds and this is how internet has improved.
Got Internet Providers To Look At Reducing Their Costs
With more people online the demand on retrieving content from remote servers increased. This is a huge expense that internet providers take on to provide service even before the pandemic. During the pandemic this line item multiplied and started to quickly grow out of control. The Internet has improved to avoid increasing rates. To compensate for the increased costs, internet providers started looking into how they were going to reduce costs. In a world where more people were online than ever and prepare for the new normal of increased connectivity.
Fortunately for everyone involved, on-net caching came to the rescue to retrieve content. Once for everyone on the network and then distribute it to where the requests are from out of the on-net cache. Before on-net caching internet providers were paying multiple times to retrieve the same piece of content. The money saved from retrieving content could now be used elsewhere. Like improving and repairing infrastructure, keeping rates down or just to increase their overall waning profit margin.
Increased Revenue Opportunities For Internet Providers
As people across the country were losing their jobs, so were internet providers losing revenue from non necessity services. Like TV service and add on premium channels. Even though traditional paid-TV has been trending downward for sometime. As more and more people cancel cable in favor of streaming. Speeding up the decline made internet providers take a hard look.. Into how they can increase revenue opportunities in other areas.
To survive, internet providers had to finally accept streaming video wasn’t going anywhere. They had to figure out how to support the surge in network capacity. The solution for many internet providers was to partner with edge networks. To ultimately lower latency and save bandwidth from where they could. This accomplished two things:
- expanded network capacity to take on additional customers
- support existing customers while improving the customer experience.
We can also see how internet has improved for these reasons.