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Stephenson told host Brian Stelter that mobile volume is up 40 percent and Wi-Fi calling has shot up 100 percent. The increased usage has resulted in some added stress on the network, Stephenson admitted, which has forced the company to “go out and do some augmentation of networks.”
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson on broadband and internet demand as more people work from home amid the coronavirus outbreak: "We’re seeing some signs of stress. We’re having to go out and do some of augmentation of network … but right now the network is performing quite well.” pic.twitter.com/6IDS6RAjJ7— Reliable Sources (@ReliableSources) March 22, 2020
Ultimately, the network is performing quite well, Stephenson said.
The Federal Communications Commission earlier this month launched the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, asking broadband and phone service providers not to disconnect residential or small business customers during the coronavirus pandemic due to their inability to pay their bills.
Hundreds of companies have already signed the pledge including virtually every major wireless and broadband provider in the US.
The European Union has been proactive in its approach to ensuring communications networks don’t cave under the added stress of people using the Internet now more than ever for work and play. The union has successfully petitioned several streaming service providers including Netflix, Facebook, YouTube, Disney, Apple and Amazon to reduce the quality of their streams during these uncertain times.
It’s unclear if similar measures will be taken to protect infrastructure in the US although at this point, nothing is really surprising.