UPDATE: April 1, 2020: With network capacity shifting home, 117 U.S. cities (59%) show signs of network strain, according to the latest report from BroadbandNow.com. Median downloads speeds at these locations fell below their usual range during the week ending March 28, when compared to the 10 weeks prior.
This number is up from 88 cities (44%) in last week’s report.
- An analysis of broadband speeds in 200 U.S. cities shows 88 of them (44%) suffered some level of network degradation last week when compared to the 10 weeks prior, according to data from BroadbandNow.com. Among those with degraded internet services, just 13.5% of cities have seen dips of 20% or more below their usual range in median download speeds.
- In New York City, by far the most affected U.S. city by the coronavirus pandemic, median download speeds dropped by 24% below usual ranges. New York State has been under stay-at-home orders since March 20, in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
- The change in speed has been most noticeable in three cities: Austin, Texas; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Oxnard, California. The cities saw their median download speeds drop 40% or more below their 10-week range.
Though the majority of cities are withstanding the increased traffic, moving life into the digital realm for an undetermined amount of time represents a fire test for the country's network.
Digital services are feeling a similar pinch, as increased demand adds stress to their platforms.
Microsoft deployed a list of "temporary feature adjustments" to its cloud-based Office 365 platform last week, an update aimed at keeping up with increased demand as the pandemic unfolds. A similar adjustment is happening in the streaming service space, with providers such as Netflix and YouTube lowering the default definition of video.
Google Cloud Platform suffered a service disruption on Thursday, and had additional problems Friday for some of its infrastructure components such as Google Cloud Composer and Google Data Fusion.
Connectivity at home is one of the hurdles of distributed work, as residential speeds are unlikely to match enterprise-grade internet connections — particularly while handling the load of resource-heavy video conferencing tools. As more of the work becomes digital, leaders are called to ensure their workers have access to tools powering the business world's new normal.