It was perhaps to be expected. With millions around the world working from home and India also in the midst of a lockdown amidst the Coronavirus, or COVID-19 pandemic, the mobile internet and home broadband speeds in India are falling. The Ookla Speedtest Global Index data suggests that the fixed broadband mean download speed in India declined from 39.65 Mbps in February to 35.98Mbps in March, while the mean mobile internet download speed dropped by 1.68 Mbps.
India’s mobile networks have seen the average speeds dip from 11.83 Mbps in February to 10.15 Mbps in March. What is also not good news is that the fixed broadband speeds have been consistently on the decline since January this year. “The mean fixed broadband speed in India has been declining since the beginning of 2020 - from 41.48 Mbps in January to 35.98 Mbps in March, a drop by 5.5 Mbps,” says Ookla.
"When networks are under usage strain, like they are in this unprecedented time of lockdown in India due to COVID-19, it is natural that they experience some level of slowdown. It is important to note that while the internet itself should handle elevated usage, there may be impacts to speed as people continue to move their daily activities increasingly online. While the core of the internet remains stable, some ISP networks may struggle to keep up,” says Doug Suttles, CEO of Ookla.
At this time, the UAE has the fastest mobile data speeds, at around 83.52 Mbps while South Korea is second with 81.39Mbps and Qatar is third with 78.38Mbps. India is in 130th place, with 10.15Mbps speeds on offer. In terms of the fixed broadband data, Singapore leads with 197.26Mbps of mean fixed broadband speed with Hong Kong following it with 168.99Mbps and Romania clocking in at 151.55Mbps. India is in 71st position with 35.98Mbps.
There is incredible load on the mobile services as well as fixed line broadband infrastructure in India, with everyone working from home. The fine point to notice in this shift, particularly for mobile networks, is that the load on networks in residential areas has increased exponentially—often, mobile service providers prioritize the network for extra load in commercial areas, and this unplanned change in usage patterns is also causing stress on the networks.