For many people, access to internet will be the only outlet into the outer world in coming crisis days
Asharafur Rahman, a senior official of a multinational company, is now spending his entire working hours in front of his computer, doing work via internet after his office adopted work-from-home policy as coronavirus spreads in the country.
“In usual work days, I used to attend 4-5 meetings in the office. Now all these meetings have become internet-based video conferencing,” he said.
Asharafur predicts that in the coming days more and more corporations and businesses will take the work-from-home policy as the number of coronavirus infected people is on the rise in the country.
Non-government organization Brac has asked its 2,000 employees, who works at its Dhaka head office, to stay at home and work online as a preventive measure against coronavirus infection.
On March 16, mobile phone operators Grameenphone (GP), Banglalink and Robi took a similar approach to prevent further spread of Covid-19 in Bangladesh.
GP has issued a notice for its 2,300 employees in this regard while Banglalink’s 1,100 employees received similar notice.
In this situation, the country's mobile phone companies see a substantial increase in data consumption and possible jump in voice calls in the coming days as people’s movement has already reduced to a great extent because of coronavirus.
For many people who will be staying home, either in quarantines after contracting the virus or as a precautionary measure, access to internet will be the only outlet into the outer world. So, more and more people will be spending extra time on internet.
Private mobile phone companies have already started witnessing jump in the data usage of the subscribers after some big corporate houses, businesses and media outlet have adopted work-from-home policy.
“There will be increased data consumption in the coming days as we have figured out analyzing the pattern in the last few days,” Robi Chief Corporate and Regulatory Officer Shahed Alam told Dhaka Tribune.
He said his company was ready to cater the increased demand for data and voice calls. “We have already taken preparation and our subscribers would be able to enjoy optimum services,” he assured.
Shahed pointed out that when movement of people slows down it makes the network more stable.
“For example, we know our number of subscribers in Banasree area and designed the network of the area accordingly. So if the Robi users of Banasree stay at their area the network will be able to support. But when they move to other areas it creates congestions,” he explained.
Banglalink’s Chief Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Officer Taimur Rahman also acknowledged the indication of growing demand for data in the coming days in the wake of reduced public movement due to coronavirus.
“We have the matter under consideration. We have enough spectrum to cater our subscribers. Also we are configuring the network in the high density areas to increase capacity,” he added.
According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission data, the total internet use in the country was 922 GBps last year and 894 GBps in 2018.
BTRC data showed, until December last year, the total number of internet users in the country was 9.94 crore of which 9.36 crore were mobile internet users.
A total of 18 people have been infected with coronavirus and one person died from the virus in Bangladesh till yesterday.
Covid-19, a new strain of coronavirus, has killed over 9,115 people around the world.