As social distancing, virtual schooling, and telework becomes the new normal in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, policymakers and scientists debate the best ways to get the country open again. With a vaccine 12 to 18 months away, at best, the leaders tend to agree that leveraging technology is the best bet. This has, of course, been playing out in several distinct ways.
Data Demands Are Rising
As many workers have seen as they navigate life from home – everything from work to office meetings and happy hours have moved online. All of this internet use is putting more pressure on our broadband infrastructure. Just in the past few weeks, data demands have risen in nearly all categories. As stay-at-home orders spread across the US and demand increases, the question lingers of whether our broadband infrastructure can support this increased workload.
Fortunately, the answer is yes. The wireless industry is taking all necessary steps to maintain our networks and network performance as Americans increase their reliance on wireless service to stay connected.
Wireless providers are expanding options and increasing mobile data for low-low-income customers, including through their Lifeline partners and programs during the pandemic.
Wireless providers like T-Mobile and CellularOne are expanding low-income access to additional gigabytes of data, and other perks on talk and text; while providers like Samsung are giving back to their workforce and hard-hit communities, donating medical supplies, hygiene kits, and other necessities.
COVID-19 Shaping The Future of Connectivity
With COVID-19 increasing our incentives to further strengthen our wireless capabilities, we have an opportunity to explore what we can do with broadband. While the crisis will teach many important lessons about our network, it would be a waste not to reexamine how we can improve our current way of life by better utilizing the abundant bandwidth we have while preparing for an even more online future.