Italy Lockdown Causes Surge in Internet Traffic as People Turn to Online Gaming

As the second worst-affected country by the novel Coronavirus, Italy recently went on lockdown while authorities struggle to contain the spread. Almost everything except for essential and emergency services have been shut down, with over 17,000 confirmed patients and over 1,000 deaths, according to latest figures.

In the midst of this gloom, Italian internet services providers are facing a new challenge: up to 70 percent surge in internet traffic, mainly driven by online gaming. According to a report by Bloomberg, Telecom Italia told investors that players are turning to games like Fortnite and Call of Duty, while those working from home are increasingly using business and conference programs.

“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,” said Telecom Italia’s Chief Executive Officer, Luigi Gubitosi. However, ISPs have managed to avoid mass outages.

“Telecom Italia’s network is working perfectly and with higher volumes compared with previous days,” the company said. “The issues reported affected just some applications and the internet due to a failure of the international network.”

Elsewhere in Europe, Vodaphone’s U.K. branch and Sweden’s leading ISP, Telia Carrier, have said that they’re working on increasing network capacity to cater to the sudden increase in demand. Outside of gaming and business programs, streaming services like Netflix are seeing a sharp increase in traffic.

“All the big players in the video conferencing market have asked for bandwidth upgrades in the last 10 days and some are asking for a fivefold increase,” said Telia Carrier’s Vice President, Mattias Fridstroem.

[Source: Bloomberg via Forbes]