The Corona-crisis underlined the significance of connectivity. Europe feared a collapse of broadband networks due to a significant traffic increase. Despite that, the networks withstood the load. The recently published internet capacity report by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) proves that, too.
In general, traffic on fixed and mobile networks increased during the Covid-19 crisis. However, no major congestion issues occurred.
Shortly after the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, BEREC and the European Commission released a joint statement. They summed up how network operators could cope with increased capacity demand.
BEREC set up a special mechanism for monitoring the internet traffic situation in member states. This should help to respond swiftly to capacity issues.
The main findings of the first information-gathering exercise by BEREC on 24 March 2020 showed that the overall traffic has increased. Despite the growth on both fixed and mobile networks, no major congestion issues occurred.
Network operators could cope well with this additional traffic load. Some local and temporary difficulties with internet access arose, but not out of the ordinary and timely mitigated.
Some operators have implemented customer-friendly measures such as increasing the amount of mobile data in the subscriptions for a limited period.
What also helped were the voluntary traffic reducing measures by content access providers, e. g. streaming in SD instead of HD.
The Covid-19 crisis could also serve as a crash-test for the net neutrality regulation. It proved to offer enough flexibility to operators to make temporary traffic management adjustments and still be within the regulatory boundaries.