Further evidence of the growing reliance on telecommunications during the Coronavirus pandemic comes from Bangladesh, where local news reports suggest that internet usage has shot up 15 per cent.
Internet traffic surged soon after the government closed all educational institutions across the country on 16 March – and of course, many companies have switched to virtual working. In particular Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company (BSCCL), the country’s only submarine cable company, has reported a bandwidth consumption increase of about 10 per cent. Bangladesh currently consumes about 1,600 Gbps bandwidth, up from 970 Gbps a year ago, and 300 Gbps in 2016. Of the total, BSCCL alone is supplying about 970 Gbps through its two undersea connections.
In addition six international terrestrial cable operators are importing bandwidth from India, which, inevitably, is experiencing a demand spike of its own.
Figures quoted from market research firm Nielsen on social media volume indicated a surge of fifty times normal levels in the first week of March in India, driven by official online announcements (such as pandemic updates, advice and campaigns) as well as general use of social media.
Meanwhile, India’s ecommerce platforms are enjoying greater usage as people order staples online (delivery of essentials has not been stopped during the lockdown). Of course, the lockdown of the country is relatively recent, so a further boost in use of the internet generally and social media specifically is probably on the cards for the latter half of this month.