South African telecommunications companies have seen a big spike in traffic across their networks.
People are watching more Netflix and YouTube, and many are now working from home due to the lockdown.
Despite this spike, ICT companies Liquid Telecom, SEACOM, and Dimension Data told MyBroadband they have enough capacity to continue serving the nation.
“Liquid Telecom’s focus today is the same as every day: we’re committed to ensuring our customers have access to the most reliable network and digital solutions – now and in the weeks and months to come,” it said.
The company noted that it has seen an impact on the rollout of new services to customers, though, as the access to their premises has been restricted.
When it comes to handling the increase in Internet traffic due to the lockdown, Liquid Telecom said its recently-overhauled network was more than up to the task.
“Liquid Telecom’s core network is one of the most technologically advanced, modern, and reliable networks in South Africa and across the African continent, with a far greater capacity than the demand we have seen over the last month,” the company said.
“As Liquid Telecom we had planned for a number of eventualities to ensure we do everything possible to support our employees and rolled out extensive business continuity measures,” it added.
“We have implemented a methodology that did not result in any salary cuts, but rather made use of a special leave allocation for those that were not able to work from home.”
“This is, however, under constant review based on the changing circumstances and associated impact COVID-19 is having on South Africa and the world,” the company said.
Dimension Data told MyBroadband it has successfully implemented remote working and enabled its clients to continue operating their businesses with certain priority procedures in place for clients classified as essential services.
“Our peering, transit, national, and international networks have had sufficient additional capacity to cater for the increased demand without needing to make any significant networking changes for our corporate clients,” Dimension Data said.
“Where consumer demand has seen an uptick in last-mile upgrades and consumption of broadband and fibre services, we have upgraded our IPC to cater for these increases.”
The company said it has measures in place to ensure that its business remains stable and ready to respond to the changing nature of this pandemic.
These include the freezing of all hiring and back-filling of roles, stopping all property refurbishments, and curtailing all discretionary spend.
“The ability to work, and to continue to work, from home relies on the technology and systems we have in place,” Dimension Data said.
“We are well positioned in terms of our robust network infrastructure, data, and system security along with the required collaboration and communication technologies to continue delivering enterprise-level solutions for remote workers and supporting our clients’ evolving needs.”
SEACOM said that it was as exposed to the economic impact of the lockdown, as were all businesses in South Africa.
“We have changed our way of work – staff are now working from home, with the focus of keeping our business running by supplying good quality Internet and connectivity solutions, while keeping up our industry-leading service levels,” SEACOM said.
“Equally as important as keeping our business running well from an operation point of view, we also understand the lockdown is affecting all our customers.”
“As SEACOM is one of the largest Internet providers in Africa, we are ensuring our network is reliable and of the highest quality – especially at a time like this when connectivity is paramount.”
The company said it has seen a noticeable increase in network traffic since the lockdown was implemented.
“We have observed a traffic increase of approximately 24% since the start of the lockdown period, but we are seeing that this could increase further as more companies take actions to contain physical interaction of staff, customers, and vendors, and instead use more digital services,” SEACOM said.
“SEACOM certainly expects traffic to continue to increase in the coming days and weeks.”
“While we operate Africa’s largest Internet backbone, and generally have sufficient available capacity as a matter of course, we are adding even more backbone upgrades where needed, particularly in critical areas of the network to anticipate increased traffic growth,” it added.
“To further upgrade our international network over time, we will therefore be somewhat dependant on getting access to these international sites so as to install, test and then turn up more lit capacity over our physical fibre network.”