It is known to everyone the measures that have been imposed by both the Canary Islands Government and the central government: all Spaniards must stay at home and go out on the street only under the assumptions covered by Royal Decree 8/2020, by which set the alarm protocol.
We are in the midst of the digital age, where work can be carried out electronically in a large part of Spanish companies: many of our clients regularly make use of this way of keeping in touch with their company and continuing to work.
It is also true that digital entertainment forms a good part of current domestic consumption, especially regarding the viewing of movies and series through the various online platforms that currently operate in our country, such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime and recently, Disney plus.
It is precisely this part, that of online digital entertainment, that is having a tremendous impact, skyrocketing data usage to levels never seen in the world.
Increased traffic on our network
From WiFi Canarias we are, from the first moment, monitoring our network and applying dynamic traffic optimization policies during this coronavirus crisis. This monitoring has allowed us to see an exceptional increase in traffic, which was increased from the moment the order to stay at home was given, and which has not stopped growing as the days go by.
Our network is prepared to support a greater capacity, in fact, since January of this year we have been making important renovations, both in the trunks and in the last mile equipment: all in order to prepare ourselves for the speed increases that we are planning for the next months. However, there is a problem that affects us, which is the excessive increase in traffic on global networks.
Increased traffic on global networks
Naturally, this increase in data consumption is occurring throughout Europe, causing national and international carriers to find themselves in really critical situations in that their infrastructures are at the limit of their capacity, which is causing episodes of extreme slowness.
They are very evident here in the Canary Islands: it should not be forgotten that we finally live on islands, that we are quite far from the mainland and that communications, which go by underwater fiber, are experiencing saturation levels never seen before.
We were able to see a few days ago as in DE.CIX in Frankfurt, it had a record traffic of 9TeraBytes per second. To understand it, all the traffic in Spain goes through that exchange node.
This name may not sound familiar to you, but AKAMAI is a platform that allows the assembly of server clusters in a distributed way, that is, it is used for the vast majority of services that we use every day, such as Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, Amazon Video . At the national level, Akamai is used by practically all TV channels that broadcast over the internet.
It is practically impossible to know what specific services these servers use, but the reality is that they are many and, precisely due to the saturations suffered by national and international data transport services, everything is being resented.
On the other hand, being connected with our loved ones in the midst of a health alarm has also caused our mobile data to continue to grow. The use of WhatsApp, as we can see in our statistics, has doubled in recent days.
Telephone calls also recorded significant increases in traffic. Specifically, the increase was 46%.
TV consumption has experienced an 80% growth in the number of accesses since this week. Total hours of consumption have also grown by 54%. According to information published by Netflix, the consumption of data on this platform has increased "exponentially".
It is difficult to say it more clearly, but the reality is the following: data networks at national, European and international levels ARE NOT PREPARED for the large data consumption that is being experienced.
Both the carriers, operators and we do everything we can to offer you the best possible connection, but it is practically impossible. We understand that the situation is complex, that being locked up at home is a difficult stress to overcome, often relieved only by TV. Unfortunately, this problem is being suffered by absolutely all telecommunications operators, so much so that even the telephone company released a statement [you can read it here] asking for responsible use of the internet, limiting the use of streaming outside of working hours.
The rational and responsible use of networks will allow us all, service providers, companies and individuals, to ensure that we have quality communication in a sustainable way over time, in a scenario of intensification of work and remote schooling that can last several weeks.
Víctor De La Nuez