Social distancing has changed the way Brazilians (and the rest of the world) access the Internet. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a world in which video conference applications have become more critical than ever. Remote work has become the new norm, children interact with schools through educational applications and many health services are now provided remotely to minimize physical contact between health professionals and patients. People at home connect with friends and family through video calls, watch movies via streaming services and spend more hours playing online games. These daily activities which are essential for the economic activities and mental well-being of the population are performed through Wi-Fi networks.
It is worth highlighting data that prove the change in behavior of the population and show that Wi-Fi has become a precondition for the functioning of society during the pandemic.
- In Brazil, Wi-Fi has carried an additional 2.8 Exabytes of traffic in the last 6 months as a result of COVID-19 restrictive measures, which have boosted broadband use in homes. This increase is equivalent to the transmission of 560 million HD movies in the period.
- Higher Wi-Fi usage due to COVID-19 in Brazil increased the economic value generated by Wi-Fi by USD 2.5 billion. This expansion represents approximately one year of economic value.
Future demand for Wi-Fi use in Brazil will continue to increase, leading to the exhaustion of its spectrum and limiting the ability of Brazilians to adapt to the new social and economic demands of the post-pandemic reality.
Therefore, we understand that:
- the allocation of additional spectrum throughout the 6 GHz band for Wi-Fi use in Brazil is the most effective and rapid way of mitigating risks associated with spectrum depletion, expanding and improving Wi-Fi performance, ensuring the continuous growth of the online economy and innovation; and
- the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) can follow the example of other regulators and act quickly to ensure that our new online reality can be rewarding and allow all citizens to benefit from innovative applications and services to work, study, communicate and receive medical care, among other possible applications.