High speed internet usage increases during the pandemic

KFDA News at Six pt 2 - VOD - clipped version

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The bedroom, the dining room and living room have all become the classrooms and offices of many as COVID-19 keep us more at home.

The constant reliance on high-speed internet, has led to a 40 percent increase in its usage.

“If you got your kids at home and they’re watching the google classroom then they’re streaming the entire classroom, the time they’re in class,” said Matthew Carpenter, president of AW Broadband. “In the evening, everybody fires up the TV and watches movies and TVs so, you can literally have a one or two streams going through your house at eight o’ clock in the morning and shutting out at night.”

A normal household would consume 600 or 700 gigabytes of data per month, and now it’s well over 1,000 which equals to two TVs, streaming nine hours a day.

This change in lifestyle has led to internet providers enhancing networks to avoid outages.

“A lot of our connections to our towers and out, we had set up to support everybody for another year or so,” said Carpenter. “When COVID-19 hit, it went from a year to like a couple of weeks of remaining capacity so, we quickly started upgrading everything as fast as we could but other companies were in the same boat as we so it was hard to get equipment.”

The delay in getting such equipment also reflected to what users got at home.

“Costumers absolutely could tell, we let them know we were updating as quickly as possible,” said Carpenter. “Mostly everybody were understanding that COVID-19 hit everybody very hard.”

Internet usage did fall slightly during the summer as school ended and stay-at-home orders were lifted, but as some of the school districts are going back to remote learning, the usage is going back up.

Because of this, companies like Plateau are working closely with schools.

Plateau has been in close contact with area schools to make internet access available to as many students as possible. Plateau’s broadband network has been critical to supporting education, remote workers, and telehealth initiatives.

As the global health crisis evolves over the coming months, the cable industry says it will continue to monitor data and capacity, and upgrade networks as necessary.

“We’ll have plenty for bandwidth for a couple of years, ‘cause we thought, what if the coronavirus lasted longer than anyone anticipates, “ said Carpenter. “Because we still bringing costumers every day and they’re using more bandwidth so is a constant updating of all of the equipment.”

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