The Hard Work of Keeping Americans Connected to the Internet
Today marks week three of NCTA updating the cable industry’s COVID-19 Internet Dashboard, a project that we launched in late March to inform consumers, government agencies, policymakers, and media about how cable’s broadband networks are performing during the pandemic. The dashboard includes aggregated data from cable internet service providers that deliver broadband to tens of millions of homes and businesses throughout America.
This week’s data further confirms what we saw last week: that the growth in peak traffic nationally (both downstream and upstream) is showing signs of leveling off. This doesn’t mean that we won’t see some variation among individual states or regions, but nationally, we are seeing two weeks of consistent data indicating growth is slowing and, in some places, even plateauing.
- National downstream peak growth remains flat for the second consecutive week, up just 0.65% for the week of April 4 – 11.
- National upstream peak growth continues to decelerate for the second consecutive week, up 0.71% for the week of April 4 – 11 compared to increases of 4% and 7% the previous two weeks.
For years, NCTA member companies have been building and investing in the infrastructure required to deliver fast and reliable internet service to millions of American families and businesses. Ensuring that consumers can work, learn, communicate with friends and family, and be entertained from home is the cable industry’s foremost priority. The data confirms that cable’s broadband networks are performing well during this unprecedented crisis, but the work to keep Americans connected to the internet remains intense and accelerated.
What specifically are cable broadband providers doing to keep consumers connected?
- 24x7 Monitoring: Network engineers are working around the clock to “micro-monitor” the network including running hundreds of thousands of speed tests every day. This monitoring enables engineers to quickly identify and address network “hot spots” that require attention or even augmentation, so networks continue to provide robust performance.
- Network Augmentation: Once network engineers identify localized areas that need augmentation, technicians are deployed to install additional hardware, extend fiber and take other measures to ensure the network is performing well. For some cable providers, network augmentation efforts are up as much as 300% in a given week compared to a typical week prior to March.
- Significant Workforce: U.S. cable operators employ 265,000 workers, found in every state across America. These essential employees are on the front lines of the effort to keep America connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Tips and other Useful Information: To help customers maximize their home internet experience, cable providers are alerting consumers about how they can set up their home equipment, including Wi-Fi, to reduce issues.