Kagan: Wireless, telephone, internet better than cable TV during COVID-19
When this COVID-19 or coronavirus crisis first started, I was asked by CNN and others in the media how home internet would hold up with all the home usage. At that time, I said if your service was good on nights and weekends when many more home users are online, then it should work well. I was wrong. At least partially.
So, let’s take a new look at this question and what we have learned over the last week or two.
There are still two parts to the internet, as far as users are concerned. One is the internet itself. Two is the user connection which comes from an ISP or Internet Service Provider.
I still think the Internet itself can handle the load… for now at least. It has shifted from office to home, but it is global and robust, and I think it can handle the changing load and demand.
Some ISP or Internet Service Providers are better during COVID-19
The second part is the weaker link in the chain for some providers. Some ISP’s seem to handle connecting their customers better than others when users are all home.
There are three different kinds internet most customers use. Wireless, telephone and cable TV.
If you recall, there used to be a real difference between the broadband connection from a phone company and a cable TV company.
Phone companies offered a more stable, reliable fast connection. While cable TV companies also offered a fast connection, but at nights and weekends when more users were online their performance slowed significantly.
Cable TV Internet needs to become more reliable
The new coronavirus load seems to be negatively impacting the cable TV Internet service. In fact, it looks familiar. At times during the day, their service is fine. Then all of a sudden it slows down or stops like the problems the industry faced years ago.
Apparently, while cable TV Internet has improved over the years, it still has this same old problem. They have just managed it better and kept most users from experiencing slowdowns. They must have increased capacity during normal times because users don’t experience it as often as they used to.
However, this sudden COVID-19 rush is apparently too much for many cable TV Internet services to handle. With this becoming known, it’s up to the cable TV companies to turn up their capacity even more and get rid of this nagging problem.
Today, cable TV Internet users have to restart their computer and their wi-fi transmitter several times a day when it just stops. This is a pain in the rear end to home users. It can be devastating to business users trying to work from home.
Some cable TV Internet services are better than ever, but they all seem to be experiencing congestion slowdown to one extent or another. It all depends how well they manage their network and each neighborhood.
Internet: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Xfinity, Spectrum, Altice
On the cable TV side, there are a growing number of complaints from users of many services including Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum and Altice. The service disruption is not all the time and not all over the network but seems to be more localized when too many users in a neighborhood are online at the same time.
Other ways to connect are using your phone company Internet service like AT&T Internet and Verizon Internet. These companies use advanced services to connect to the Internet and don’t seem to have the same problems. They didn’t years ago, and they don’t today. They seem to be offering a much more stable Internet connection for users.
Randall Stephenson CEO of AT&T on internet usage during COVID-19
In a recent CNN interview, Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T said significant usage has moved to the house, but they are still able to meet the changing demand. That’s good news for AT&T customers.
There are also smaller ISP providers. Like you would expect, some of these are doing better than others as well. It’s a real mix of good and bad.
Wireless is another source. Some wireless providers offer high-speed Internet connections. The top three are AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile. So far, they seem to be stable and fast as well.
Cable TV needs to fix their Internet problem
So, at this point it looks like most ISP’s, especially telephone and wireless are doing a very good job handling the change in access locations. Cable TV Internet is good, but not as stable.
Hopefully, Cable TV can fix this problem quickly. They need to increase capacity to busy neighborhoods to offer better service experience to their customers. We’ll see if they do this.
Generally speaking, we are seeing generally acceptable service for most users depending on the service provider they use, the location they are at and the time of day they use the services.
However, there are definite weak spots that need attention and quickly. We need every provider to be at their best during this trying time.
I hope these ISP’s are aware of this real problem and are making the upgrades as quickly as possible. Their customers and shareholders will appreciate it during this time when everyone is stuck at home.
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