Internet use sees sharp spike in Pakistan

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KARACHI:Internet use sees sharp spike in Pakistan As millions remain indoors due to varying lockdowns across Pakistan, the internet usage in the country has increased by 15 per cent in a week.

In a press release issued on Thursday, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said the increase was observed due to a spike in online activities by educational institutions and businesses, as well as a ‘work-from-home policy’ adopted by individuals and organisations.

At present, Pakistan’s installed bandwidth capacity is almost three terabits per second and loading capacity is at 2Tbps.

The PTA said there was “sufficient internet capacity” available in the country to meet the growing demands of the future.

In order to match the increased demand, media streaming platform Netflix has removed the highest bandwidth streams in Pakistan. The decision has been taken to reduce traffic so that more users can avail of the service.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Ken Florance, the VP Content Delivery at Netflix, said: “Given the crisis, we’ve developed a way to reduce Netflix’s traffic on telecommunications networks by 25 per cent while also maintaining the quality of our service. So consumers should continue to get the quality that comes with their plan — whether it’s Ultra-High, High or Standard Definition. We believe that this will provide significant relief to congested networks and will be deploying it in Pakistan for the next 30 days.”

The Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) has also acquired a video conference system worth $300,000 from Huawei Pakistan, which can be used for epidemic prevention and control command, remote consultation and remote monitoring.

Besides politics, financial institutions are turning to internet for mobile banking as a public-health tool.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has waived all charges on fund transfers through online banking channels to avoid the use of cash, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) flagged as a conduit for the spread of coronavirus. The central bank also advised the financial sector to immediately facilitate education fee and loan repayments through internet banking or mobile devices.

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