Since the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home measures began in March for much of the country, viewers in the Americas started watching more streaming video, playing more video games, and using social media more, according to a new report by Sandvine. It might not come as a surprise, but the sudden massive shift in traffic from business networks to home networks also saw a sharp rise in video conferencing platforms like Zoom, in both upstream and downstream traffic according to Sandvine.
According to the report, the top 10 sources of web traffic in the Americas were either streaming video, gaming, or social media. In fact, the video services in the top 10 alone made up a combined 50 percent of total internet traffic as people fill their days with a wide variety of programming options. Streaming video is one of the most bandwidth intensive applications, and a sudden surge in video traffic can put stress on a network. For that reason in Europe, the big streaming services were asked to reduce the video quality in order to ease congestion. But that wasn’t the case in the United States.
In fact, the data shows that week after week, the US internet has held up extremely well through the sudden shift. That’s because America’s broadband leaders have invested more than $290 billion in infrastructure over the last two decades, and the result is an internet network that is ready for a rainy day (or a global pandemic, turns out).
That’s why cable ISPs are building a network with 10 times the speed of today’s fastest connections, because the future is unpredictable, but the internet is essential. Learn more about how the US’s internet is holding up week by week, be sure to visit our COVID–19 Internet Dashboard.