According to a new report, the effects of teleworking, shelter-in-place laws and home quarantines as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak are gradually affecting broadband speed in a number of US cities. According to BroadbandNow, the broadband analytics site, 88 of the 200 most populous US cities surveyed have experienced some network degradation over the past week as compared to 10 weeks earlier as more and more people go online to work from home to chat and stream movies and television to chat. In a small handful of cities, there were even significant losses in the past week, as the download speed has dropped by more than 40% compared to the 10 weeks before.
It is not necessarily the areas that are most affected by the spread of the novel corona virus and that have the worst problems.
In cities like LA, Chicago, Brooklyn, and San Francisco, download speeds were barely or not disrupted, the report said. Seattle is also doing well.
In New York City, which is now the epicenter of the virus in the United States, download speeds dropped 24% last week compared to the previous 10-week range. However, NYC home network connections are managed at an average speed of almost 52 Mbit / s.
The good news is that network speeds keep going in most markets.
Of the 88 cities out of 200 that saw declines, more than two dozen fell 20% or less, the data said.
Austin, TX (-44%); Charlotte, NC (-24%); Fayetteville, NC (-22%); Fort Lauderdale, FL (-29%); Hialeah, FL (-21%); Houston, TX (-24%); Irvine, CA (-20%); Jersey City, NJ (-25%); Kansas City, MO (-25%); Lawrenceville, GA (-24%); Littleton, CO (-22%); Marietta, GA (-29%); Miami, FL (-27%); Nashville, TN (-20%); New York, NY (-24%); Omaha, NE (-24%); Overland Park, KS (-33%); Oxnard, CA (-42%); Plano, TX (-31%); Raleigh, NC (-20%); Rochester, NY (-33%); St. Louis, MO (-21%) St. Paul, MN (-29%); San Jose, CA (-38%); Scottsdale, AZ (-32%); Washington, DC (-30%); and Winston-Salem, NC (-41%).
In three cities in particular, there was serious network degradation of over 40%: Austin, TX (-44%), Winston Salem, NC (-41%) and Oxnard, CA (-42%). San Jose, CA approached this area with a 38% decrease.
Internet service providers have responded to the health crisis during this time by suspending data limits, increasing speed at the base level, and expanding free access to low-income families. Their ability to keep up with this high demand is currently being tested.
Streaming services, which are part of the larger bandwidths, have reduced the quality of their streams in order to use less network capacity as the demands on US connectivity have increased. For example, yesterday yesterday YouTube announced that SD connections were used by default to reduce bandwidth requirements. Amazon and Netflix have reduced stream quality in Europe. Despite the record level of network traffic in the United States, Netflix has made no commitments to do the same in the United States. Today, Netflix had a one-hour outage that affected some U.S. and European users.
Another area of concern is how well more rural areas will be with new jobs to stay and work from home. These markets are often only served by older technologies such as DSL . According to BroadbandNow, they have held up so far, but this could change.