According to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), internet consumption in India has witnessed a surge of 13 per cent since three days before the nationwide lockdown ie. March 21, 2020.
The data highlighted that users have consumed an average of 308 petabytes (PB) of data daily for the week beginning March 22, 2020. The daily average consumption in this period was 9 per cent higher than 282PB data used on March 21, 2020 and 13 per cent more than the daily average of 270 PB seen in the previous week.
As per the DoT, data demand from residences rose as compared to commercial areas as people consumed more streaming content and logged on to work from home. On the geographical front, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar saw some of the steepest increases, by around 12 per cent in both states. In Maharashtra, where data consumption was highest among all states, the increase was 7 per cent under the lockdown period.
Interestingly, the consumption peaked on two days – March 22, 2020 and March 27, 2020 when 312 PB of data was used. Since the first week, however, consumption has now stabilised around the 300PB mark.
DoT highlighted that the increase was within its capacity to handle a spike. It added that a spike of 20 per cent can be handled without any duress. The government has also optimised the fibre optics network and have not yet reported a breakdown.
Meanwhile, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said that around the third week of March, operators recorded a 30 per cent jump in traffic with most of it from people streaming videos. This was later addressed with media companies disabling high-quality videos and optimising bandwidth usage.
Further, COAI added that with the consumption moving to residential places, the challenge was installation of cell towers. To this end, it worked with the government to ensure that of 800 unused cell towers in metro cities, 730 were made functional. Allowance to operator to carry out maintenance work has also helped great deal wherein the complaints of cuts in fibre optic cables fell from 100 a day on an average to 6-7 a day.