COVID-19 and the Impact on Fixed Wireless Internet Networks in California and Texas

covid-19 impact on internet usage increase texas and california

by | March 27, 2020 | Networking

The COVID-19 Impact on ISPs in California and Texas

With self-isolation and community quarantines rising amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, 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 (WISPs) provide critical last mile connectivity to over 6 million Americans. Many of these live in traditional rural communities that suffer from widespread digital divide issues.

Preseem is used by hundreds of 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, consisting of hundreds of WISPs primarily in the U.S. and Canada. Because of this, Preseem can provide unique insights into how COVID-19 is changing internet usage for network operators.

*For this analysis, we chose to focus on ISPs based in Texas and California.

COVID-19 Impact: Hourly Internet Usage Comparison Between California and Texas

The following chart compares hour-by-hour internet usage for the business week starting March 16th, 2020 compared to the previous one.

covid-19 Hourly Internet Usage Comparison Between California and Texas

The percentage change in hourly internet usage shows the dramatic impact of COVID-19 on Californian ISPs compared to Texas.

The change is especially significant during regular business hours. Fixed wireless networks from both states show a significant uptick in internet usage during typical business hours, as more and more people work from home. In California the increase in internet usage between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. is consistently over 40% week-over-week.

Increase in Total Internet Usage Across Fixed Wireless Networks in California<

Comparing the week of March 9th to the following week, we see that total average internet usage went up by over 17%.

California is one of the hotspots for the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. A state-wide emergency declaration in early March led to the closure of non-essential services and most workplaces. Meanwhile, mass calls for self-isolation and home quarantine resulted in many Californians hunkering down in their homes. With many people working from home, the demand on internet networks has reached unprecedented levels.

Usage Shift During Work Day Hours: Fixed Wireless Networks in California

With clear orders for home quarantine, organizations stretching from Big Tech to state agencies mandated their staff to work remotely as much as possible. The resulting shift in internet usage during typical business hours across the five-day comparison period is staggering.

Internet usage during business hours for Monday to Friday during the week of March 16th increased by 34.6% compared to the previous week.

COVID-19 Impact: Increase in Total Internet Usage Across Fixed Wireless Networks in Texas

Comparing Monday to Friday starting March 9th versus the following week, the total average internet usage across fixed wireless networks in Texas went up by around 5%.

Usage Shift During Work Day Hours: Fixed Wireless Networks in Texas

The shift in internet usage during typical business hours across the five-day comparison period in Texas is more prominent.

In Texas, internet usage during business hours (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Monday to Friday, starting March 16th, increased by 12.1% versus the preceding week.

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