COVID-19 and Its Impact on Rural Fixed Wireless Internet Networks

With demands for self-isolation and community quarantines rising amidst the COVID-19 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 rural communities across Canada and help bridge the digital divide.

Preseem is used by 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. The following data was collected across WISPs in Ontario and Quebec to avoid timezone effects

First Few Days of COVID-19 in Canada: Increase In Total Internet Usage Across Fixed Wireless Networks

Comparing Mon-Wed starting March 9th vs. Mon-Wed starting March 16th, it’s evident that total average internet usage went up by almost 20%. Declaration of provincial emergencies, school closures and mandatory work-from-home policies by many private-sector employers all resulted in this dramatic surge in internet usage across rural fixed wireless networks.

First Few Days of COVID-19 in Canada: Usage Shift During Business Day Hours

It’s also interesting to see the shift in internet usage during typical business hours (9 am to 5 pm) across the 3-day comparison period.

Internet usage during Mon-Wednesday starting March 16th increased by 16.84% vs that of Mon-Wed in the week starting March 9th. With many people working from home to do their part in ‘flattening the curve’, internet usage across residential customers for rural wireless networks has increased dramatically.

Get even more insights on how COVID-19 is affecting fixed wireless Internet networks across Canada. Downloading the full report for free now!

Preseem is a one-of-a-kind Quality of Experience (QoE) monitoring and optimization platform, designed specifically for fixed wireless networks. Learn more or sign up for a free 30-day trial by visiting

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