RATEL’s recommendations regarding increased Internet traffic

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe, the number of employees working from home increased significantly. Schools and universities shut their doors, switching to online courses and programs. All of this contributed to the rise in Internet traffic, as confirmed by the measured data at Internet exchange points (IXPs) in Frankfurt, London and Amsterdam (for details, please visit https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/snapshot-impact-covid-19-internet-traffic-levels-europe-hern%C3%A1ndez/).

Based on the experience of the European countries, an increase in telecommunications traffic is expected in the Republic of Serbia as well. Pursuant to the Decision on the State of Emergency of March 16, 2020 and the accompanying measures, regular academic and business activities have been suspended and switched to online platforms which depend on increased use of electronic communications services, consequently causing an increased telecommunications traffic load.

The electronic communications operators invest their best efforts to maintain the unhindered operation of fixed and mobile communication networks and provide all the necessary capacities at this moment. Beside the electronic communications operators, Internet users can also help head off potential network capacity overloads and alleviate the consequences with their responsible online behaviour.

It is recommended that less high data consuming applications be used (such as video streaming) during working hours. Also, sending large documents by email should be avoided (pasting links instead is a better option) and all other big data flow applications.

It is very important that, during this period, the Internet be available to as many users as possible; therefore common responsible action is advised. Otherwise, if Internet traffic load becomes too high, the operators might not be able to guarantee suitable quality of some of the applications (such as entertainment video content and similar).

This problem has also been addressed by BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) member countries, which published a joint statement available at the following link https://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/subject_matter/berec/others/9236-joint-statement-from-the-commission-and-the-body-of-european-regulators-for-electronic-communications-berec-on-coping-with-the-increased-demand-for-network-connectivity-due-to-the-covid-19-pandemic.

RATEL will continue to monitor the national situation in the area of electronic communications, with operators’ collaboration, and inform the public accordingly.