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Reliance Jio offers free internet; Airtel, Voda-Idea promise normal internet for work from home needs

FE Online

Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone Idea have assured users that the internet speed will not cause an issue even as there has been a marked surge in data usage. The telecom companies have said that they are prepared for additional load on their networks even as many people are working from home to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Bharti Airtel is in talks with all the towers, infrastructure providers and service providers to prepare for contingency plans in case the current situation aggravates, Gopal Vittal, CEO, Bharti Airtel, said. Reliance Jio also said that it will provide basic JioFiber broadband connectivity with speeds of up to to 10 Mbps.

"Jio will provide Basic JioFiber broadband connectivity (10 Mbps), wherever it is geographically feasible, without any service charges, for this period. Jio will also provide home gateway routers with a minimum refundable deposit," Reliance Industries Ltd said in a statement. Vodafone Idea had also said that it has been monitoring the traffic pattern, and was confident of "handling the growing demand of voice and data services during the lockdown period".

Meanwhile, as data consumption has gone up, telecom companies have also sought for OTT platforms Netflix and Amazon to reduce the video quality to ensure that the internet speed doesn't fall. They have reached out to video streaming platforms to rationalise their services. "Reducing the quality to SD from HD can lead to 15-20% reduction in traffic," telecoms said. 

As people have shifted to work from home in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the telecom and internet service providers are reeling under clogged consumption of data. Internet providers have witnessed a 40% jump in traffic on their networks in the last few weeks, The Indian Express reported. "This sudden surge in digital use is already putting pressure on the network infrastructure of the Telecom Service Providers (TSPs). The TSPs are taking requisite steps to manage this load and facilitate the smooth functioning of the networks during this critical time," COAI said in a letter to the video streaming platforms. 

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases are nearing the 500 mark in India and the virus has claimed at least nine lives in the country.