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Brian Adam
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Net neutrality tested by coronavirus

Telework in homes as a result of COVID-19./EFE
Teleworking in homes as a result of COVID-19. / EFE

European regulations prohibit slowing down or speeding up traffic on certain websites except on rare occasions

The closure to avoid the spread and spread of the new coronavirus has triggered internet consumption. Spanish operators have estimated that the digital services traffic through IP networks it has experienced an increase of around 40%. Mobile phone use has increased by 50%, 25% in the case of data consumption for the internet.

In Italy, they are making 20% ​​more calls and sending 20% ​​more messages on WhatsApp compared to a year ago. Sources close to Microsoft, assure that Skype has registered a 100% growth in the transalpine country. Now France is added to this equation. Several French reports suggest that the combined traffic of YouTube, Netflix and Facebook represents approximately 80% of the total of the four main French operators.

The large Spanish operators recommend reasonable use of the network and download only the documents or files that are necessary and take advantage to do so at times with less traffic.

Prioritize the network

Whatsapp, as it happens in the countries of our environment, is the star tool. «The infrastructures are dimensioned to absorb the peaks of activity“Says Arthur Dreyfuss, president of the French Federation of Telecommunications.

In Spain, the internet exchange point DE-CIX Madrid registered a record of data transfer on the afternoon of last Saturday, March 14. At 20:36 hours, a traffic peak of 468.39 Gbit per second was reached, coinciding with exceptional situation Spaniards are living because of the state of alarm declared by the Government in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

“The high growth rates of data transfer are largely due to the high video streaming consumption, not only for video on demand services, but also for live information broadcasts and video calls via Skype or WhatsApp, ”says Theresa Bobis, Regional Director for Southern Europe at DE-CIX.

According to French media, the teleoperators are considering the possibility of giving priority to the transmission of data from services linked to telework. One step beyond the Spanish recommendation and puts at risk a sacred concept on the internet: net neutrality.

USA without neutrality

In June 2018, the Donald Trump Administration ended the regulation that guaranteed a level playing field in internet access. A measure that prevented the service providers Internet may block, speed up or slow down access to certain platforms or websites.

In Europe, neutrality is still protected. In 2016, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communication (BEREC) approved a series of rules to promote net neutrality in Europe. In its regulations, the community body establishes that “traffic can only be treated differently in the case of court orders, due to network congestion or to combat cyber attacks”.

Following this regulation, France and the rest of the EU countries could slow down certain servicess to reward traffic allowed by teleworking.

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