The Movement Control Order that was implemented since 18 March is meant to stop the spread of COVID-19 infections by restricting movement so that the majority of the population stay at home as much as possible. As a result of this, many activities usually done face-to-face such as meetings and learning has since been shifted online through video conferencing.
There is also an increase of online shopping as shopping malls remain closed throughout the MCO. Of course, being home means that we are prone to get entertainment contents online and when you combine all these factors together, it is not surprising that there is a significant increase of Internet traffic right now.
In their reply to our queries that we sent after the traffic reduction announcement by Netflix, TM and TIME have previously stated to us that there were around 30% increase of traffic within their network during the early part of MCO. Unlike these two fixed broadband companies, none of the mobile telcos that we have reached out have got back to us with similar response.
However, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has provided the big picture today by revealing that the combined Internet traffic in Malaysia has gone up 32.1% in the first two weeks of MCO. By combined, we meant the traffic of both fixed and mobile broadband.
In the first week alone, our combined traffic has increased 23.5%. Naturally, the increase of consumption has pretty much caused congestion which lead to reduced Internet speed according to the regulator who has referenced the recent report regarding the significant drop of Malaysia’s 4G speed during MCO by Opensignal.
Nevertheless, MCMC pointed out that local telcos as well as Internet Service Providers (ISP) are continuously working to expand their bandwidth capacity in order to cope with the demand. In fact, MCMC stated that the industry is already start pouring the RM 400 million investment that was mentioned by PM Muhyiddin Yassin in his Prihatin announcement by performing upgrades as we speak.
Based on the announcement by MCMC, it is a clear sign that the local telcos and ISPs are working to ensure that our Internet infrastructure remained stable as we go through the current phase of MCO. But nevertheless, we still wonder what are the immediate actions that these companies going to take if the MCO is being extended further which seems quite likely to happen.