Like many across the world, the country of Italy is completely shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the quarantine, kids in Italy are stuck inside with not much to do. A lot of them have sought recreation online through a lot of gaming, which is having a bigger impact on the country’s internet connection than expected.
An Internet Surge
At one point Italy lead the world in cases of the coronavirus with over 100,000 people affected with the disease. Because of this, the country’s government forced a quarantine on citizens to stop the pandemic from spreading even further. With many inside with nothing else to do, one of Italy’s service providers, Telecom Italia SpA, has seen a huge uptick in data usage.
Internet usage has grown over two-thirds in the past two weeks since the country went on mandatory lockdown. It was thought that the surge came from adults working from home or streaming Netflix with their families. However, it’s recently been discovered that the real reason behind this growth in usage is actually due to Italy’s children.
For The Love Of The Game
Apparently, the increase in data usage is due to kids playing online games like the popular Fortnite and Call of Duty. Those games have multiple players and take up a lot of bandwidth. “We reported an increase of more than 70% of Internet traffic over our landline network, with a big contribution from online gaming such as Fortnite,” Telecom Italia Chief Executive Officer Luigi Gubitosi recently shared on a conference call, according to Bloomberg.
When you have millions of kids playing and downloading updates on these games, it can cause some problems. This great increase in internet traffic led to some outages in the country. However, those problems have been resolved. “Telecom Italia’s network is working perfectly and with higher volumes compared with previous days,” the company wrote in an e-mailed statement. “The issues reported affected just some applications and the internet due to a failure of the international network.”
A Worldwide Trend
According to Forbes, this issue is likely to become a trend across the world. Sweden’s own network, Telia Carrier, said its traffic grew 2.7% in February with the pandemic and it predicts that there will be an even bigger increase moving forward. Internet problems are likely to hit the United States very soon as well. Just like in Italy, the U.S. government has been closing down businesses and schools all over the country. Some schools will even be closed for the rest of the academic year. Since much of Generation Z has never experienced a world without high-speed Internet, Netflix, and gaming, it’s probable that there will be a major increase in gaming here.
Some wireless companies like Comcast and A&T have already tried to accommodate people’s use of the internet by offering free Wi-Fi for two months during this crisis. The two have also lifted data caps for customers, while Sprint is giving current subscribers unlimited data for the next 60 days. This is good for customers who won’t have to worry about bills from their providers for a little while. However, limitations may arise as time goes on. Adults are attempting to telework from home, host conference calls over the internet, and access files and databases remotely. With kids out of school, many teachers are attempting online learning with their students, which can add to the increase in data usage as well. So far, the crisis has impacted over 1,000,000,000 people globally with almost 115,000 people losing their lives due to complications from the disease. That number is expected to rise in the days to come, so there’s no telling how long everyone will be in quarantine.
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