Garcia Bish: ‘The digital revolution, of which we talked for a long time, is now coming true’

Another of the panels that took place during the last Nextv Series South America virtual edition was entitled ‘The impact of booming online consumption during the pandemic’. There, the team of executives gathered by Dataxis for the debate discussed various related topics, such as the growth of online consumption (video, gaming, e-commerce and others); strategies for the new scenario; the impact on internet access networks and network dimensioning in this scenario.

The executives gathered by Dataxis for the panel’s development were Pablo Gavino, CDN Product Manager at Lumen Technologies for Latin America; Alejandro Ambrosio, Capacity Planning Manager at Telecom Argentina; and Juan Garcia Bish, Engineering Manager at Gigared.

Regarding the video traffic that took place during the pandemic, Ambrosio stated that ‘we have seen growth for all network layers, both of what we call ‘upstream’, which is all the traffic that we upload to the network, where we made a 75% growth, as well as ‘downstream’, which is the content we download to our homes and our computers, where we had a 50% growth’. The executive also mentioned that ‘the growth was in all network layers, and the one that was loaded the most was the access network’.

Similarly, Garcia Bish said that ‘we noticed a growth in internet traffic during the quarantine’. This way, the executive explained that ‘in March, not only in Argentina, but in the rest of the Latin American countries, there was an increase in traffic of between 20% and 30%. In the following month, the traffic calmed down, but later it became accentuated again, and in three months of quarantine we had between a 40% and 50% increase in traffic, which is normally seen in a full year. Traffic has been growing at a rate of between 40% and 50% per month, that is, it doubles every two years’. Later, Garcia Bish divided between pure internet and CDN internet, and explained that 0of the traffic that we transport to our clients, we  only need to find a 25% in the world, and the rest comes from a local server. The distribution of this type of traffic changed with the pandemic, as did the increase in these traffics. In the particular case of Gigared, in March, we had an increase in traffic of 20%, only in one month. Pure internet grew 33%, and CDN traffic grew 16%. Although, in percentage terms, CDN traffic grew less, representing 75% of the total, the impact on volume is greater’, he explained, detailing the rise of Netflix and Facebook.

‘From our point of view, and focusing on our own CDN for the entire region, since the beginning of the pandemic until today we have doubled the traffic in our CDN’, said Gavino, and then added that ‘65% of the traffic of our CDN is video, followed by gaming’. In addition, he claimed to have seen the impact of ‘digital leisure’, which ‘has been enhanced by the pandemic and has integrated many people into this new world. I think that in this period we have grown what we would have grown in two or three years’.

‘Today, one of the main uses of our clients is based on the consumption of streaming video. During the first 15 days of the social distancing period, we made a 45% growth, which is what we expected to grow for the entire year’, Ambrosio said. Also, according to Garcia Bish, 0the digital revolution, of which we talked for a long time, is now coming true. If the networks had a limited life span, it is beginning to shorten and, in our particular case, we must start to think about pure fiber optic architectures, and, little by little, we can get rid of the HFC, with the Docsis standard, with which we lived for 20 years. Fiber optic is presented as the most flexible and highest capacity platform, looking towards the future’.

Regarding the evolution of mobile traffic, Ambrosio affirmed that ‘there was not such a great growth, as it was seen in the fixed network. In the first 15 days of the quarantine, which was the period when we were most in our homes, we saw the most traffic on the network. Mobile data traffic grew by 20%’, he completed, and later reported that voice traffic ‘grew by 50%, and we noticed that people spoke more, and for a longer time, and the duration of calls increased by 96%’.

‘Consumers have learned a lot in these months, and we must give an answer to these new habits and customer demands through investment in networks and infrastructure. It has already been shown that many of the tasks that we performed in person can be done online, and we must face the demands of the new online consumer’, Gavino said.

Regarding how the networks of the operators and content providers should prepare for the possible massification of 4K and HDR streaming in the coming years, Ambrosio assured that ‘with regard to 4K and HDR traffic, we nowadays do not see such a significant growth in these contents. Obviously, we continue to monitor them day by day, but the use of the internet in general is changing, and we must continue to monitor them to see how these changes are taking place in the network, and to be able to make it grow, based on the capacity required by the client’.

‘We are in a transition from traditional TV, based on linear consumption and distributed by channels, to a distribution that is 100% on demand and OTT. Disney+ shows another battle, that of the big streaming companies. The future will be based on which OTTs will be the ones that survive and stay. People will not hire more than two or three OTTs. The strong point of Disney is focused on the availability of familiar content’, concluded Garcia Bish.