The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has urged mobile consumers to use data networks responsibly, so that smooth operations of critical services can be ensured on communications infrastructure.

The move follows the government’s imposition of a 21-day lockdown to tackle COVID-19 spread.

COAI’s appeal to public comes at a time when data usage has surged nearly 30 per cent over the last few days in the wake of lockdowns and work-from-home.

Commenting on the issue, Rajan Mathews, director general, COAI, said, “We are asking people for responsible usage of network to avoid any trivial use of internet and networks so that remote working, online education, digital healthcare, payments and other critical services, can run smoothly and uninterrupted.”

Further, he added that mobile users can also do their bit by using the internet for online activities during off-peak hours, say early morning or late evening.

Recently, in order to address the situation, OTT platforms had also reduced their streaming bit rates for videos on their platforms.  The move came after the COAI had written to the government urging issuance of instructions to streaming platforms for initiating measures to ease pressure on network infrastructure, which is needed for “critical” functions at this juncture.