Netizens across India have taken it online complaining about the slow internet speeds while broadband operators indicate that the issues are due to the “unprecedented load” arising from Covid-19 lockdown. Even as India entered into a 21-day lockdown period on Tuesday night, several companies have already asked the employees to work from home from the second week of March. As more users flood online using their home connection, certain service providers seem to have been caught off-guard due to higher loads placed on their networks.
Higher Loads Due to Covid-19
Slow internet is a keyword that has been spotted on social networks and various forums in India as users have started to share the experience of slow speeds from their service providers.
A Twitter user Sandeep Sarma tweeted on Monday that his Act Broadband has been patchy “for a while” as he has been “getting around 90 Mbps” on his ACT Giga plan. “I don't think it's fair to charge for a GIGA connection while giving less than 1/10th the promised speed,” Sarma said in his tweet.
In a follow-up tweet on Tuesday, Sarma tweeted that he has been on a 100 Mbps plan for most of March but yet would have to pay for the GIGA connection that he has subscribed.
“I understand that the current circumstances have resulted in more users and hence reduced speed but at least have some consideration when generating the invoice,” Sarma said.
While ACT Fibernet hasn’t responded to Sarma’s tweet, another user Sahil Bhalla posted a response from Act that seems to have been sent to most of Act customers.
In the response, Act Broadband’s CEO Bala Malladi touched on his company’s preparedness around the Covid 19 situation highlighting Act’s network and his team's preparedness.
“We are primarily focused on prioritising the needs of our existing customers and have been working relentlessly that your highspeed fiber services are uninterrupted to the maximum extent possible,” Malladi said. “We have built a robust contingency plan and business continuity plan in dealing with any eventuality including quarantining our data centres and other critical assets, should that exigency arise.”
Malladi highlighted that Act is aware that many of its users are working from home and that fibernet access is an “essential service.”
“We are committed to deliver best possible internet experience to all our customers during these challenging times and request your understanding, patience and encouragement to all our service employees,” Malladi said.
Act Broadband hasn’t been the only provider that seems to have been struggling at these times as a thread on India Broadband Forum indicates that customers of several broadband providers have similar issues.
Users of Bharat Fiber, Siti Alliance and Excitel have posted screenshots of speed tests that seems to indicate their connection issues. One user of Excitel who seems to have raised a ticket for his slow connection seems to have received a standardized response that highlighted “unprecedented load” as the cause of speed issues.
“Due to unprecedented load on the network due to situation arising from Covid19 pandemic, there maybe some speed issues in a few specific websites,” Excitel said in the response to the speed ticket. “We are working continuously to resolve these issues and in next two days, we should be back to our best speeds.”
Free Service to Upgraded Plans
It has to be noted that despite the service providers taking higher loads on their networks, certain companies are offering either one month of free service or higher speeds on their plans.
MTNL on Monday announced that its users in Mumbai and Delhi will be offered double data on its plans for one month. Similarly, One GigaFiber is offering unlimited data with double speeds while Act Broadband has provided a choice for its to upgrade to 300 Mbps plan with unlimited FUP for month of March.
Excitel and Reliance Jio have also provided plans that offer free service for one month.