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Social distancing drives increased internet usage

(WCAX)
Published: Mar. 20, 2020 at 5:57 PM EDT
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With so many people stuck at home working online or surfing the web to pass the time, you may have noticed your internet is a bit slow. We wanted to find out if providers can handle the load. Our Adam Sullivan spoke to Vermonter's leaders about this to find out.

It is possible, especially with more people logging on all at once. But you should not rush to blame your internet provider.

The state is monitoring internet usage across the region and has reached out to the major providers. At this point, they say providers are able to deal with increased volume. Many have also signed onto a pledge to "Keep America Connected" no matter what and not disconnect customers because of a lack of payment. If problems were to arise, internet providers do have more power to correct them.

"Companies have greater latitude to manage their networks. Net neutrality rules being what they are, companies can prioritize traffic. That is certainly something that could kick in if things get bad. But right now, everything is working the way it should," said Clay Purvis of the Vermont Department of Public Service.

WCAX News reached out to Comcast and received the following statement: "We engineer our network capacity to handle spikes and shifts in usage patterns, and we continuously test, monitor and enhance our systems and network to ensure they are ready to support customer usage as needed. Our engineers and technicians staff our network operations centers 24/7 to ensure network performance and reliability. Our network is engineered, tested and monitored to withstand heavy traffic."

Vermont's Public Service Department is in the process of mapping out free Wi-Fi locations around the state. That information will be posted online. Vermont's Public Service Department is in the process of mapping out free Wi-Fi locations around the state. That information will be posted online.

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