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Work From Home: Demand For Internet Soars

With thousands of IT employees logging into the work from home (WFH) mode, telecom players and internet service providers are witnessing a major spike in demand for home broadband connections and internet dongles in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai.

According to telecom industry sources, not only has the demand for dongles and broadband connections surged over the past couple of weeks as companies scramble to make bulk purchases for employees to facilitate WFH for business continuity, there has also been a major uptake in mobile internet usage.

“Home broadband connection requests have shot up 4x over the past fortnight in cities like IT cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai due to increased WFH requirements. There has also been a spurt in dongle purchases thanks to bulk buying by corporates. We have also seen an over double uptake in mobile internet as people forced to stay indoors spending more time on streaming apps,” said an Airtel source.

ACT Fibernet CTO Prasanna Gokhale said it has been witnessing a surge in demand and usage across all cities it is present in but refused to divulge figures.

Former Nasscom chairman and Cyient Ltd founder chairman BVR Mohan Reddy said that Covid-19 was a shocker that no company was prepared for. “Most IT companies have the readiness to handle just about 5-10% of WFH load but connectivity infrastructure is a critical aspect that all companies are scrambling to fix.”

“On March 5, we procured some dongles for employees for about Rs 999 a piece but a couple of days back we were quoted double the rates by a vendor for 50 dongles,” said the CEO of a mid-sized IT company. The spike in home internet usage necessitated also has IT companies worried about bandwidth issues. “The next few days will be testing times for companies due to bandwidth issues as thousands of employees logging into work from home,” said HYSEA president Murali Bollu.

But telcos and ISPs said they have sufficient capacities to meet any demand. “Given a robust national optic fiber and global submarine cable footprint along with data centers, there is sufficient capacity to provide bandwidth ,” said an Airtel spokesperson.

—Times of India

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