Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Internet consumption increased by 33 percent in lockdown

Internet consumption increased by 33 percent in lockdown

Internet consumption in Nepal has increased by 33 percent due to the government's call for a lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The figures were presented at a digital conference organized by the Technology Journalists Forum (TJF) on Tuesday.

Samit Jana Thing, chairman of Nepal Network Service Providers Group, said that domestic consumption has increased by 35 percent and external consumption by 25 percent. He said that 1486 gigabytes per second was consumed before the lockdown started and after the lockdown, it reached 1971 gigabytes per second.

Internet service providers add up to 2100 gigabytes per second, according to Thing. He said the downturn in the internet market, which normally grows at an average rate of 23 percent per year, has helped it achieve high growth in a short period.

Lockdown has seen an increase in the number of people watching movies on Netflix and running tickets at home, he said. He informed us that the consumption of the internet has doubled even in mobile gaming like Ludo. Meanwhile, Google, Facebook, and Amazon also have high rates of Internet use.

Director of the Nepal Telecommunication Authority, Vijay Kumar Roy, also said that the internet usage has increased by 36 percent in the first 10 days after the lockdown. He also said that international bandwidth consumption has increased by an average of 10 percent.

Lockdown has also stabilized Internet demand, Roy said. "Earlier in the day, there was a lot of demand at one time and a lot of demand at another time. But now there are no such fluctuations, 'he said,' but even now, between 8-10 pm, internet consumption reaches a high point. '

Where does the Internet come from?

Chairman Thing said that Bhairahawa is the main road to bring internet bandwidth in Nepal. He informed me that a lot of bandwidth will be imported from Birgunj after that. After that, the internet is also imported from Dhalkebar, Dhabi, and Tanakpur.

He said that despite an agreement with China to buy bandwidth through Rasuwagadhi, a large amount of bandwidth could not be imported from there. According to Thing, the risk of natural calamities has increased as the internet is brought from Rasuwagadhi.

"Avalanches and snowfall also cause fiber problems from time to time," he said. "Infrastructure is being constructed to bring water from Sindhupalchowk." With the opening of that border, trade with China could increase. '

 He said Internet service providers would be ready to import Chinese bandwidth if there was a facility to bring bandwidth from one checkpoint to another. However, he said that Nepali service providers have not been attracted as the Chinese internet is more expensive than in India.

Nepal is currently buying large quantities of the internet from India's Airtel and Tata. After that, Nepal also imports internet bandwidth from SIFI and many other companies. From China, Nepal Telecom is buying internet from China Telecom. According to Thing, Mercantile and WorldLink also consume less internet than companies like Alibaba and Baidu.

Rising consumption

Internet service providers say that up to 73 percent of the 2100 gigabytes per second internet available in Nepal is being consumed locally and internationally. The businessman said that most of the internet is being consumed only on Google and Facebook.

These two platforms use the Internet for 82 percent of domestic consumption and 56 percent of external consumption. Although there are more mobile internet users based on the number of users, wireless internet users are consuming only 11 percent of the total consumption.

Fixed Internet (WiFi), which is connected via wire, consumes 89 percent of the bandwidth, said, Chairman Thing. NEA Director Roy said mobile access has reached 126.70 percent of the country's population and internet access has reached 72.22 percent of the population. He said that access to mobile broadband has reached 56.14 percent and access to fixed broadband has reached only about 18 percent.

Customer interest

Internet service providers now say that about 80 percent of complaints are related to the quality of Wi-Fi. He said that the customers have been complaining about the slow speed and interruption of the internet due to network sharing.

However, there is a lack of a system to see how much bandwidth is coming to the consumer's router, said Chairman Thing. He said, "It is not possible to do this right now as it costs a lot to check the traffic every five minutes."

But the technical side of it is being worked on, ”he said.

However, he said that there was no denying that the internet would be shared. "We want to provide 25 Mbps internet for 8 people. Everyone gets 3 Mbps, 'he said,' but not everyone uses the internet at the same level at the same time, so one user is consuming 10-12 Mbps. '

He said Internet service providers already share bandwidth in this way and that it will be shared across multiple devices even when consumers use it at home. "If we don't distribute the internet like this, we can sell at such a cheap price No, 'he said.

Cheapest price

The price of the internet in the international market has come down drastically. NEA Director Roy said that the price of internet per megabit per month, which used to be  30, has now dropped to  6.

However, Nepali consumers have not been able to get the benefit of cheap internet bandwidth. Roy said that they would also discuss price adjustment in the Nepali market in line with the fall in international prices.

Policy initiatives

Director Roy said that Lockdown has further enhanced the importance of the Internet in Nepal and expressed the commitment of NEA to continue to take the lead in the implementation of the plans prepared by the Digital Nepal Framework. He said that NEA is regularly monitoring and improving the availability, access, price, and quality of the internet in Nepal.

He said that they have been conducting regular active monitoring to ensure that the internet service is not disrupted due to non-renewal even during the lockdown. He said that they are working on the availability of fifth-generation internet, internet facility in public places, use of internet in education and health, improvement of mobile service infrastructure.

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