Many monumental changes have occurred in the last month across the country. Changes to how we work, learn, live and play. As Americans have moved into their homes to conduct most aspects of their lives, the demand for broadband has never been greater. People in both rural and urban areas have had to make major adjustments and now use the Internet to work, socialize and entertain, adding tremendous stress to networks across the country. The coronavirus pandemic has tested the work governments, businesses and ordinary citizens have put into creating broadband access and closing the digital divide. So, how has the country actually been performing?
In March, when the majority of the United States received a stay at home order, it appears our Internet and network architecture withstood the massive uptick in traffic. Downstream data in March was 33% higher than traffic in January of 2020. Most of that increase came in the first three weeks of the month as people were becoming adjusted to life at home. The first three weeks showed triple digit growth followed by a plateau towards the end of the month. Digging deeper into hourly statistics; business hours downstream data showed a 42% increase and an upstream rise of 83%. The evening hours showed a slightly less dramatic increase of 21% for downstream and 36% for upstream. This data shows that our online entertainment options are not negatively affecting Internet performance in the United States. Our Internet infrastructure is robust and can handle a lot of traffic! This differs from the Internet infrastructure in many other countries. For instance, in Europe, Netflix and Youtube had to reduce streaming quality to prevent the Internet from collapsing under bandwidth constraints. The resilience of our network is great news given social distancing and the stay-at-home lifestyle may be the new normal for the next 6-18 months.
Like most other businesses, ISPN has had to adjust to the ‘new normal’. We’ve experienced increased call volumes given the aforementioned trends in Internet usage. Recently, call volumes have leveled off but they remain significantly higher than historical averages. ISPN is fortunate enough to have a great workforce, remote work capabilities and a robust IT infrastructure, which has allowed us to effectively manage the increased volume. Our goal as a company is to help ease some sense of uncertainty when it comes to support and continue being a source of stability to your business. Internet connectivity is a critical infrastructure that is vital to every aspect of our lives, now more than ever, and we remain committed to keeping America connected.
Here are a few business practices we have implemented at ISPN to help to keep our employees safe and maintain our ability to provide the highest quality service. We hope this brief guide is useful as you implement your own policies.
• Assigned workstations for each tech center employee and empty stations between each employee
• Maintain approximately 6 feet of space between employees at all times
• Email sanitation reminders and post reminders around office
• Have wipes, hand sanitizer and gloves readily available
• Professional sanitization every evening, concentrating on keyboards, phones, surfaces and handles
• Secure remote sessions to provide mirrored capabilities for staff to work from home
• Company issued phones securely linked to the company’s network
• Continue routine performance evaluations and perks
• Designated tech support for WFH employees
• Create as normal of a workday as we can for their new remote environments
• Clean personal and work phones regularly
• No sharing of headsets
• 70%+ isopropyl wipes or alcohol spray
• Continued reinforcement of our customer service ethos
• Practice Patience, Empathy, Positivity and Kindness!