Home internet use in Bangladesh rises sharply amid coronavirus shutdown

  • Shamim Ahamed, Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-03-29 23:34:28 BdST

Use of internet at home usually drops during holidays, but it has spiked sharply during the shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Housebound people have been using 50 percent more data since the holidays began to stem the outbreak started on Mar 26, MA Hakim, the president of the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh or ISPAB, told bdnews24.com on Sunday.

The users are not facing any problem as corporate use of internet has dropped to zero with all offices shut across the country until Apr 4, Hakim said.

He provided the information after analysing data from over 800 members of the association.

Some of the ISPs, whose clients are mostly corporate users, may have to contend with losses as many of the small firms stopped subscription for a month, he said.

The number of broadband internet connections in the country was over 5.7 million as of February, according to the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.

Sumon Ahmed Sabir, chief technology officer at International Internet Gateway or IIG operator Fiber@Home, said internet use generally drops by 15 to 20 percent during holidays.

“But we are seeing something different this time. Demand for bandwidth at homes has increased by 15 to 20 percent as the customers are using video streaming, conferencing and sharing platforms,” he said.

Currently, the customers in Bangladesh are using 1,700GBPS bandwidth, according to Sumon.

There will be no problem even if the demand rises further as Bangladesh has six International Terrestrial Cable or ITC besides two submarine cable connections, he added.

Shahed Alam, head of corporate and regulatory affairs at mobile phone operator Robi, said the use of their data increased by 21 percent.

“But it won’t have any reflection on revenue because of subsidies on data price and free or low-cost services, which we are providing now considering the situation,” he added.

Ankit Sureka, senior manager of corporate communications at Banglalink, said they have also cut internet prices by 40 percent and doubled the offer periods but the rise in use was not significant.

In February, the number of mobile internet connections stood over 94.2 million, according to the BTRC.