Redzone Responds to Dramatic Increase in Maine Broadband Demand Statewide Since Covid-19 Outbreak

Maine Internet Provider doubled core network capacity and reports a 43% increase in daily data consumption from March 16th - March 31, driven by online education, remote work, and media streaming

April 3, 2020 - Redzone Wireless, LLC, Maine’s leading fixed wireless broadband services company, provided key insights on Maine elevated broadband usage in the most recent two week period during which time schools and many businesses were closed, and Maine residents were directed by government & public health officials to practice extreme social distancing.

The company notes both a 43% total increase in overall daily data consumption and significant shifts in network utilization rates by time of day. The chart below illustrates a comparative increase in network utilization in every measured time period, and highlights that the most significant increase is occurring during the daytime hours of 9am to 6pm.

The data also shows that Redzone’s network is consistently meeting the increased broadband demand in Maine. Redzone is fully leveraging benefits from its 2019 network expansion completed within the last 90 days. The new network assets have provided expanded capabilities to support the demand surge from existing Redzone users, and to meet the requirements of thousands of new customer requests received during the first quarter of 2020.

“Redzone’s recent network expansion and core data upgrades could not have been better timed to help address the unprecedented surge in Maine broadband demand,” said Jim McKenna, Redzone President & CEO. “While the health and safety of our employees and customers are our paramount concerns, we also recognize the critical role that a fast and reliable broadband connection plays in helping Maine families and businesses, especially high risk populations, navigate the challenges associated with extreme social distancing. We are gratified to see the excellent performance of our fixed wireless network with these extraordinary levels of customer use” added McKenna.

Redzone Covid-19 Business Actions

In consideration of Redzone’s commitment to continue essential broadband telecommunications services to all customers, Redzone has taken the following actions to ensure employee and public health.

  1. Migrated all office-based employees to remote work from home operations
  2. Doubled core network total capacity at data centers
  3. Deployed AI-based bandwidth management software to maximize the user 

  4. Enabled employee collaboration & video conferencing on Redzone’s network
  5. Maintained full tower & network infrastructure management and support
  6. Enhanced field technician safety protocols and health monitoring
  7. Implemented pre-Installation and field service customer health screening
  8. Rescheduled in-home installations in highest impact areas

“Our team has responded quickly to the needs of our customers and the safety of our frontline employees with a comprehensive business action program, and I commend the work ethic, engagement and commitment of every Redzone team member,” said Andrew Weeks, Redzone Senior Vice President of Network and Customer Operations. “We will continuously monitor Covid-19 public health directives and regional market conditions to enhance our operational policies & procedures to minimize health risks while ensuring consistent broadband service and exceptional customer support throughout this crisis.”

Broadband Speed Requirements Analysis

Among Maine households with an average of 4 family members simultaneously using broadband enabled devices and applications - including educational video conferencing, media streaming, VPN remote business applications, and gaming systems, the aggregate measured bandwidth requirements, while elevated, remained under 20 megabits per second (Mbps) for download speed, and below 3 Mbps for upload speeds.

The data used for this calculation was measured across thousands of Maine households during the most recent two week period, including analytics for in-use devices by type and application.

These findings stand in stark contrast to widespread public conjecture that consumers require dramatically faster broadband speeds to thrive in the digital economy.

Top 10 Applications - March 16-31, 2020

  1. Netflix
  2. Amazon / Prime
  3. Facebook / Instagram
  4. Hulu
  5. Zoom Video
  6. YouTube
  7. Xbox Gaming 
  8. Disney+
  9. Twitter
  10. Slack

Closing Maine’s Broadband Gap

According to The ConnectME Authority, Maine’s publicly funded organization dedicated to improving broadband, Maine’s 2019 digital divide consisted of 80,000 locations across the state that lack access to 25 Mbps broadband service. Redzone reported that it narrowed Maine’s broadband gap by 10%, by providing new access to 8,000 underserved locations after completing its 2019 expansion. In total, Redzone now provides True broadband coverage to 350,000 households – representing over 63% of all Maine homes.

“The current national Covid-19 pandemic calls upon everyone in Maine to work together. We wish to express our deepest thanks to all Maine’s healthcare workers, first responders and the thousands of unsung heroes in our communities that work every day to provide our essential services,” said Michael Forcillo, Executive Vice President of Redzone Wireless. “Broadband connectivity is an equally essential service for individuals, particularly in rural Maine communities. Redzone is committed to leveling the digital playing field so all Mainers can benefit from affordable True broadband connectivity.”