Internet providers cope with spike in usage as work, schools moves home

Internet providers say they are seeing a dramatic jump in usage as the coronavirus pandemic forces many to work or learn on their home computers, but they?re designed for maximum capacity or to shift the weight during peak times.

Internet providers say they are seeing a dramatic jump in usage as the coronavirus pandemic forces many to work or learn on their home computers, but they’re designed for maximum capacity or to shift the weight during peak times.

ATT, for example, is reporting wireless demands are up 40%.

But experts say it’s only the beginning.

Content Continues Below

“I think there will be a surge in internet traffic; how much surge is a little bit unclear,” said Yan Solihin, a cybersecurity expert and computer science professor at the University of Central Florida.

Solihin said he’s watched other cities hit hard by the virus, noting the download speed has dropped 45% in San Jose, and 25% in New York City.

Solihin said online shouldn’t create too many issues -- it’s video games and streaming services that cause the most strain, and there’s also been a shift to midday traffic.

Regulators in Europe have urged nonessential entities like Netflix and YouTube to lower video resolution from HD to standard definition. In the United States, the FCC has temporarily allowed more spectrum for added bandwidth.

Solihin said much of what you experience depends on your plan. The higher your bandwidth, the fewer issues. However, people streaming on multiple devices on one account these days can quickly develop problems.