Surviving A Lockdown Without the Internet

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Wednesday 15 April 2020
How will you spend your time? Photo: Unsplash

The COVID-19 has kept most of us within the four walls of our homes. There’s a good chance that most of our days consist of activities like binge-watching Money Heist, Houseparty calls with friends and family as well as Skype work meetings. However, what if we had some of these privileges taken away? Would we be able to survive a lockdown without the internet?

Coping with the surge in mobile data and WiFi demands during lockdown

Our world pretty much revolves around the internet. Unless you’re away on a digital detox escape, it’s extremely difficult to resist using your phone or even your laptop for an entire day. And the COVID-19 outbreak has only stressed its almost impossible to survive a lockdown without the internet.

opensignal surge in wifi during covid-19
Photo: Opensignal

A study carried out by mobile analytics company Opensignal, showed an increase in the average percentage of time spent by smartphone users connected to the WiFi. Hong Kong was one of the earliest places to show an increase in Wifi consumption. Next, a large week-on-week jump in the Philippines took place on the third week of March, which began on March 16, with the country’s main island placed under quarantine.

Spain also experienced significant increases in the third week of March, as it went into its first full week of lockdown. According to StarBiz, a higher WiFi consumption in Malaysia corresponds with Telekom Malaysia’s 30% increase in usage, with traffic going to international sites mainly for streaming, online games and teleconferencing.

opensignal 4g download speed during covid-19
Photo: Opensignal

Another study by Opensignal shows an increase in mobile data consumption. However, telcos worldwide have done well to provide consistent internet connection, with minimal changes in users’ 4G download speeds. “It is still too early to make an accurate assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on revenue or cost at this stage. We have seen a surge in data traffic since the MCO started on March 18,” said Maxis Bhd CEO Gokhan Ogut to StarBiz.

Additionally, streaming services have also chipped in to help internet providers cope with the surge in demand. Netflix announced last month that lowering the picture quality would reduce data consumption by 25%. The change will apply to the UK as well as other European countries, but the move does not affect high-definition or ultra-high definition 4K movies. Similarly, YouTube has taken measures to reduce the streaming quality, due to growing concerns at the government level.

Is it possible to survive a lockdown without the internet?

surviving a lockdown without the internet
A blessing in disguise or utter madness? Photo: Unsplash

The million dollar question here is how would you spend your time at home? Working from home for most of us is out of the question. Connectivity with friends and family is wiped out. You’ll also wave goodbye to catching up with your favorite movies and series. It’s also the end of meme’s on Twitter, stalking on Instagram and crazy videos on TikTok.

Yes, you’ll have plenty of time to exercise, cook and meditate. You’ll learn to savour sips of your freshly brewed coffee and dive right into that book on your coffee table. It also helps if you aren’t living alone. Yet, despite all that, this is a digital detox like no other. Essentially, surviving a lockdown without the internet promises to challenge the best of us and time will tell if we come out of this for the better or worse.

Source: StarBiz, Bloomberg, CNN, Opensignal