Friday , June 21 2024

Despite promises of faster Internet, Vietnam struggles at peak hours

After promises by telecom firms that Vietnam’s international Internet speed would be restored last Friday, online data flows still slow at peak hours.

Bich Phuong, from Hanoi’s Cau Giay District, said she still felt the reduced connection quality over the weekend as four out of five undersea cables connecting Vietnam with the rest of the world are still encountering issues.

“The Wi-Fi now connects faster, but the mobile 4G has gotten considerably slower. This is the opposite of what happened in the previous weeks, when I had to turn off the Wi-Fi to use 4G,” she said.

When she tried to use the Facebook app, Phuong said she frequently encountered images that had not loaded completely, and she would have to wait several seconds before she could open Facebook links. On the other hand, she said she can use her Wi-Fi as usual now.

At a meeting with the Ministry of Information and Communications last Friday, telecom firms promised to share data among one another to resolve Vietnam’s slow international Internet speed. Military-run Viettel has since shared 100 Gbps with VNPT, for example.

However, while users have reported faster connections than before, they say that connections remain unstable.

Nguyen Hong Thang, head of the Vietnam Telecommunications Authority, said that following the application of certain technical methods and the inclusion of data delivered on land, connections have become “less stagnated” than before.

“However, Internet speed can still slow down during peak hours,” he said.

During normal periods, Vietnam’s undersea cables have a total amount of data flow of 18.7 Tbps. Sixty percent of it is used for normal operations, while the rest is put in reserve. However, as four out of five undersea cables are having issues now, 75% of this data flow has been lost. Telecom firms had to purchase another 3 Tbps worth of data flow to be transported over land to keep connections stable.

A representative of the information ministry said that providers need to make sure that “customers’ actual data usage during peak hours must never exceed 90% of the international data amount that service providers can afford.” This means that the amount of available data must always be at least 10% higher than users’ demands.

However, over the weekend, the amount of data that certain telecom firms used already exceeded the 90% threshold.

According to a report by the information ministry, by the end of Sunday, the amount of data usage seen by VNPT was at 95% of the amount of international data flow the firm can support. The figure seen by Viettel during peak hours was at 96%. Meanwhile, FPT’s fixed connections and MobiFone’s mobile connections saw data flows below 80% of what they can afford.

VNPT has negotiated with its partners to purchase more data using land cables, and the data is expected to be used over the next 1-2 weeks. Viettel said it would buy more data to ensure that its data reserve would be at least 10%.

Several telecom firms in Vietnam said they have managed to compensate for around 50% of the international data flow lost.

But even with enough data, connections can still be slow as the data has to make longer trips using the available cables left, including land cables, according to experts.

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