COVID-19: What is the impact on broadband networks and how are Broadband Forum standards helping?
By Tom Starr, President of Broadband Forum
For years, internet traffic has been growing as remote corners of the world get connected for the first time and the number of connected devices continues to mount. Operators across the world are preparing their networks to manage this increasing demand – but with recent school closures and remote-work directives in place across the world, intended to slow down the spread of COVID-19, service providers are experiencing a sudden and significant spike in internet traffic.
Whether for people that normally go to work to communicate or people who normally head out for entertainment, service providers are feeling the pressure to deliver reliable, robust and high-speed connectivity. And with video conference calls and streaming services all being used more than ever before, this can be a challenge if everyone is wanting to use the network to its full potential at the same time. From dropped connections, slower downloads, and loss of video feeds, the pandemic is likely to test the limits of home broadband capacity.
A solution in standards
Fortunately, a lot of operators have already done a significant amount of work on network preparedness. Service providers are so far reporting that their networks are performing well despite the recent huge surge in internet traffic and they are waiving fees for excess usage. Technicians are busy boosting network capacity.
Many are also utilizing Broadband Forum standards during this unprecedented time. Our work on network performance measurement, monitoring, and management has become more important than ever. And with people being told to eliminate contact with anyone outside their household, our TR-069 / User Services Platform (USP) standards are proving crucial as they enable technicians to solve problems without entering the customer’s home. Broadband access to the home is now a vital lifeline, so the ability for TR-069 / USP to immediately resolve technical problems is greatly appreciated by customers and service providers.
We are proud that the standards that have been so important in broadband development are now helping keep people safe and connected during this worldwide crisis.
How our work is continuing
As a result of the global pandemic, for the first time in its history, Broadband Forum will hold its Q2 meeting via web conferencing instead of the usual face-to-face meeting. To ensure the safety of our staff, members and guests, we will organize a series of virtual meetings to progress our ongoing initiatives.
During this period, we will strive to keep a sense of normalcy where possible. Our opening and closing sessions will take place as usual, as will our technical sessions which will be driven by an agenda with the usual contribution deadlines. The technical sessions won’t be as long as they would be at a face-to-face meeting and we will try to find times that work for most people.
As we have seen, things change quickly and we are in uncertain times, but Broadband Forum remains diligent and committed to continuing the important work and cadence of that work to the best of our ability, while ensuring the health and safety of all of those involved in our organization.
If any of our members required additional support during this time, please get in touch with the Director of Membership Development, Rhonda Heier at email@example.com.