We’ve examined the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic across multiple sectors in recent times—now, it appears that the coronavirus is affecting internet speeds across the globe. Many severely-impacted regions have gone into varying states of lockdown, and those of us who are in Malaysia are currently operating under a Movement Control Order (MCO). Consequently, the importance of internet connectivity is arguably more apparent than ever now.
Due to the situation, many are now working remotely; the increase in demand for entertainment via the internet has also predictably increased. As such, the folks over at Ookla have shared some of their insights on the impact of COVID-19 on the performance of global internet networks. And in case you didn’t know, Ookla is the company behind Speedtest.
“Degradation of speeds”
As of March 23 2020, Ookla shared that they have seen a general degradation of speeds for both mobile and fixed broadband connections around the world. More specifically, Malaysia saw a sharp decrease in the average download speed (both mobile and fixed broadband) from the 16th of March till the 22nd of March. This drop is also matched by an increase in latency for the same week.
The significance of that particular time interval (16–22 March) is that the MCO was imposed in Malaysia from the 18th of March. This could mean that the decrease in average speeds in Malaysia could be down to an increased strain being placed upon network operators in the country.
Conversely, the average download speed over fixed broadband in China and Japan has improved, with both countries also hit by effects of the pandemic. Previously, Malaysian networks’ fixed broadband and mobile download speeds both “remained steady” from the 24th of February, although this was clearly impacted by the MCO on the 18th of March.
As for the rest of the world, average speeds for fixed broadband in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland have also degraded, although the UK, Italy, and Austria appear to be maintaining their download speeds (March 16 week).
The readings from Ookla indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic, and resulting measures, have led to a significant impact on many network operators around the world—including Malaysia. This comes as the world is in need of connectivity more than ever, which highlights the crucial roles that operators around the world play in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
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