Brazil’s internet can handle the Covid-19 crisis, say officials

. Mar 25, 2020
With the uptick of people using streaming services during self-isolation, there was a fear that Brazil's internet would not be up to the task. Officials say there is nothing to worry about Anucha Cheechang Photo: Anucha Cheechang/Shutterstock

The Brazilian in-person economy is being essentially shut down, as state administrations impose restrictions on movement and commerce. Millions of people are now working remotely, and streaming services are offering free content for the population to endure its self-isolation. However, with so many people online, the question now is how well the network will handle this unprecedented demand. Internet traffic has significantly jumped in Brazil during the month of March, to 11 terabits per second (Tbps).

For Brazilian regulators,

however, there is no need to worry. They say the Brazilian network has more than enough room to support the increase in traffic.</p> <p>According to Milton Kaoru Kashiwakura, director of special projects and development at — the executive body of Brazil’s Internet Management Committee — internet use has risen 25 percent in the past three months alone. And that has led regulators to increase the number of Internet Exchange points (IX) to 33. These huge neutral data centers allow hundreds of organizations to exchange data among themselves, making the internet network more resilient and cheaper. &#8220;Thanks to this effort,&#8221; says Mr. Kashiwakura, &#8220;Brazil can expand its broadband abilities to manage heavier traffic.&#8221;</p> <p>“Covid-19 comes at a moment when our networks are updated and may be escalated to 25 Tbps, twice the amount of bandwidth currently used,” he told <strong>The Brazilian Report</strong>.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>As we reported in our <a href="">March 20 Tech Roundup</a>, internet service providers experienced a 15-percent higher peak of consumption in the first three days of self-isolation measures and feared they might not be able to withstand a 100-to-200 percent increase.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>For Mr. Kashiwakura, despite having more people using the internet, consumption peaks are similar to pre-Covid-19 levels. The biggest change concerned the period of use. “People are using more bandwidth during the day, close to peak levels in the afternoon. But if providers were supporting them during the previous peak at 9 pm, they will be able to maintain service,” he said.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <figure class="wp-block-image"><img loading="lazy" width="1024" height="389" src="" alt="brazilian internet" class="wp-image-34045" srcset=" 1024w, 300w, 768w, 610w, 1487w" sizes="(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px" /></figure> <h2>Preventive steps</h2> <p>Companies, however, have been taking steps to avoid potential issues. Globo, Brazil&#8217;s largest broadcaster, said it will reduce the quality of its transmissions on streaming service GloboPlay and <a href=",globoplay-reduzira-qualidade-do-streaming-durante-pandemia,70003243885">will disable higher resolutions</a> such as 4K or Full HD. According to the company, this will allow for data savings of 52 percent, allowing more people to access its content.</p> <p><a href=",netflix-vai-reduzir-qualidade-de-transmissao-de-video-no-brasil,70003245172">Netflix decided to keep its high-quality streams</a>, but will restrain the bit rate transmitted in Brazil for 30 days, leading to savings of 25 percent. Facebook and Instagram will also reduce video resolution in Latin America, while Amazon Prime and YouTube are currently adopting restrictive measures only in Europe.</p> <p>Mr. Kashiwakura points out that these are helpful measures, as networks are not uniform and not all of them have the ability to sustain this growth, which might affect performance. However, he stresses that the measurement system has not found any “significant degradation” yet.

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Natália Scalzaretto

Natália Scalzaretto has worked for companies such as Santander Brasil and Reuters, where she covered news ranging from commodities to technology. Before joining The Brazilian Report, she worked as an editor for Trading News, the information division from the TradersClub investor community.

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