COVID-19 and the Impact on Fixed Wireless Internet Networks: California Vs. Texas

 

With the demand for self-isolation and community quarantines rising amidst the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the nature of daytime internet usage across the world is changing.

Whenever such a fundamental shift in the way people live and work happens, the impact is felt by all service and utility providers. Fixed Wireless internet service providers or WISPs as they’re commonly called, provide critical last-mile connectivity to over 6 million Americans. Many of these live in traditional rural communities which suffer from widespread digital divide. 

Preseem is used by hundreds of Fixed Wireless ISPs to monitor, analyze, and improve the quality of experience (QoE) they deliver to their subscribers. Preseem ingests billions of metrics from its customer base which consists of Fixed Wireless ISPs primarily in the U.S. and Canada. Given this unique position, Preseem can provide macro-level insights on how the spread of Covid-19 and changes in social behaviour are changing internet usage and other patterns for network operators.

*For this analysis, we chose to focus on ISPs based in Texas and California

 

COVID-19 Impact – Hourly Internet Usage Comparison Between California and Texas

The following chart illustrates the comparison of change in hour-by-hour internet usage for the last business week (M-F starting March 16th) vs. the one before (M-F starting March 9th). The chart shows the comparison between California and Texas to keep the timezone complications out of the way.

The difference in percentage change in hourly internet usage shows how dramatic the impact of COVID-19 has been on Californian fixed wireless networks vs. those in Texas.

The change is especially significant during the business hours. Fixed wireless networks from both states show a significant uptick in the internet usage during typical business hours (as more and more work-from-home). Interestingly, in California, for multiple hours in a day (between 10am – 2pm) the increase in internet usage (week-over-week) is consistently over 40%.

California internet change covid-19 preseem

COVID-19: Increase in Total Internet Usage across Fixed Wireless Networks in California

Comparing Mon-Friday starting March 9th vs. Mon-Fri starting March 16th, it’s evident that total average internet usage went up by over 17%.

California is one of the hotspots when it comes to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. State-wide emergency declaration in early March, closure of non-essential services and most workplaces, mass calls for self-isolation and home quarantine resulted in Californians hunkering down in their homes. With many people working-from-home and families staying together, the demand on internet networks has reached never-seen-before levels.

Usage Shift During Work Day Hours: Fixed Wireless Networks in California

With clear orders for home quarantine, organizations stretching from Big tech to state agencies mandated their staff to work-from-home as much as possible. 

The shift in internet usage during typical business hours (9 am to 5 pm) across the 5-day comparison period is staggering.

Internet usage during the business hours (9 am to 5 pm) Mon-Friday starting March 16th increased by 34.59% vs that of Mon-Friday in the week starting March 9th.

COVID-19: Increase in Total Internet Usage across Fixed Wireless Networks in Texas

Comparing Mon-Friday starting March 9th vs. Mon-Fri starting March 16th, the total average internet usage across fixed wireless networks in Texas went up by around 5%.

Usage Shift During Work Day Hours: Fixed Wireless Networks in Texas

The shift in internet usage during typical business hours (9 am to 5 pm) across the 5-day comparison period in Texas is more prominent.

In Texas, internet usage during the business hours (9 am to 5 pm) Mon-Friday starting March 16th increased by 12.12% vs that of Mon-Friday in the week starting March 9th.

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