2020 Argentina Internet Map - Credit: © 2020 Grupo Convergencia
Internet provider companies started the year with the expectation of the political transition, but the panorama changed since March with the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and its political, economic and social correlate.
On March 24, the government published DNU 311/20 with which it ordered companies to maintain services in case of default or non-payment for 180 days. The decree reached the provision of the Internet. On May 18, it suspended the rate increases, including again the service in question. The decision was agreed with the companies until August 31.
After the expiration of that term, the government published DNU 690 with which it imposed the rate freeze until December 31 and defined fixed and mobile telephony, pay TV and Internet services as public, essential and in competition.
Large companies, which were negotiating an increase, argued that it was a unilateral decision by the government. The administration defended the measure to ensure connectivity during a prolonged health crisis. Days later he opened a cost evaluation table to define updates from January.
The networks experienced an increase in traffic of up to 65% in the first leg of social isolation, which called into question the capacity of the system. After the initial peak, traffic stabilized at a level between 30 and 35%.
In the quarantine, the flow of traffic from urban centers and commercial offices to neighborhoods and private homes changed.
The increase was verified at all social levels with specific differences. In the ABC 1 segment, the increase was mainly explained by teleworking, while in low-income households it was associated with the consumption of audiovisual content.
87% of the consumption of an ISP is going to cached content, highlighted one of the sources and also increased the use of CDNs (content distribution network) that already had a good growth rate before the pandemic.
According to a survey of inland ISPs conducted by Convergencia Research to understand the evolution of supply and demand for residential Internet accesses in the first 90 days of the pandemic, 82% of the ISPs surveyed increased their number of customers between 20 March and June 30, 2020, for 60% the growth was higher than projected and on average they increased by 20% in the number of customers, a figure that more than doubles the annual growth of broadband accesses in the total country for the year previous. But not only the small ones grew, Claro added 100,000 fiber accesses in 180 days of the pandemic.
For the ISPs consulted, download traffic grew 61% and upload traffic 43%. At the beginning of October, the market balance was that the system responded well to the increase in demand with some inconveniences in the last mile related to logistics, travel and others that are already recurring problems such as limitations with municipal permits for deployment or lack of regulation for the use of poles.
Service providers forecast even higher traffic in the short term. That is why the arrival after 20 years of a new submarine cable, the GlobeNet Malbec, scheduled for December and without a precise date would also tie up the Tannat in the coming months. Competition in international traffic will increase and prices will fall in addition to making it possible to use modern subsea infrastructure with lower latencies.
In international transport, the Capricorn Network is interesting, the result of an alliance between Grupo Datco and the Sapem of Santiago del Estero, Chaco, Formosa, Misiones and the Brazilian company Ampernet. This option shortens the distance when leaving São Paulo, Brazil, for the flow of those provinces and reduces latency and price.
Ten million. On June 30, 10 million Internet accesses were passed, according to the quarterly investigation carried out by Convergence Research. The increased demand for home connectivity was the key to this event. For the same date, fiber connections reached 1.39 million with an increase of 10.5% compared to the month of March, according to data from the same study.
For the second quarter of the year, the Internet download speed was 38.32 Mbps average according to the Enacom Open Data registry. 88% more than in the second quarter of 2019 when the download speed was 20.33 Mbps on average.
As in 2019, the exchange issue was again mentioned as a concern of wholesale and retail suppliers, who warned about the mismatch between their costs in dollars and their rates in pesos.
The possible restriction on the importation of equipment was another factor considered problematic since the sector needs to invest in these goods to develop and upgrade the infrastructure.
As the map shows in its 23rd edition, Telecom is the carrier with the largest number of ISP clients in the market, around 400. It is seconded by Telefónica, with 221; Silica Networks, with 184; Ufinet, with 88 and Claro with 64. Aguas del Colorado totals 49; Internexa, 45; and Iplan, 30. In the satellite segment, Orbith has 14 ISP clients.
Cabase's IXP network integrates 32 operational traffic exchange points (including Venado Tuerto and Canning, which will open soon), with a traffic of 2,126 Gbps, 45% more than the 1,161 Gbps exchanged in mid-2019.
Recently, the Secretary of Public Innovation, Micaela Sánchez Malcolm, declared that the official strategy will be to deploy the next stage of the Refefo and simultaneously continue with the allocation of Non-Refundable Contributions (ANRs) to local projects by Enacom with funds from the Service Universal in order to reach a greater number of corners of the country.
Between January and October, the regulatory body allocated $ 713,567,722 to 100 SMEs that provide connectivity throughout the country to update and expand their infrastructure.