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TIM, Fastweb, Vodafone & Wind: Service Degradation in Italy

Published on March 25, 2020

Can Italian networks cope with mobility restrictions and #StayHome measures? So far, yes!

  • Operators impacted: TIM, Fastweb, Vodafone, and Wind
  • Date: Several days in March 2020
  • Potential impact: Over 17 million fixed Internet lines (all: FTTH-VDSL-ADSL)

MedUX is closely monitoring the effect of COVID-19 on the European customer experience and residential fixed broadband performance. 

At MedUX, we are pleased with network resilience and telco operators’ efforts to manage this unprecedented situation and make sure there is enough capacity deployed in networks and Internet exchanges. Operators all over Europe are taking reactive and proactive measures to maintain service quality and Internet usage experience. The risk of network congestion is increasing, but operators are working hard to mitigate the shock from the huge Internet usage increase and probably expanding capacity. 

MedUX’s data shows that Italian networks have been strained since the government imposed mobility restrictions forcing people to stay at home. Degradation has been observed in basic parameters such as latency, packet loss, and contracted speed compliance, as well as in indicators related to web browsing, gaming, cloud storage, and streaming services. Indeed, Internet connections in Italy seem to have slightly slowed down, but there do not seem to be service disruptions preventing users from connecting to the Internet. 

How do we, MedUX, monitor network performance and whether the networks are ready for technological challenges and customers’ needs? These are the main findings and other relevant aspects of our impact assessment in Italy:

  1. All regions are affected in some way, but Piemonte, Lombardia, Toscana, Emilia-Romagna, Campania, and Sicilia have had a relatively more significant customer experience degradation.
  2. The drop in compliance with contracted download speeds was on average at the national level 10% and 8% for FTTH and VDSL services during peak hours (around 20–21h) of week 11.
  3. There was an up to 15% decrease in compliance with contracted download speeds for FTTH and VDSL during afternoon hours on the worst-performing days.
  4. There was up to 0.8% and 1.2% total packet loss for FTTH and VDSL services during afternoon hours (including peak time) on the worst-performing days.
  5. There was an up to 50% increase in latency for FTTH during morning hours and up to 150% increase during afternoon hours (including peak time) on the worst-performing days.
  6. All operators have been affected by the degradation of web browsing, streaming, and gaming experiences, especially the latter because of latency, jitter, and packet loss worsening.
  7. The worst-performing operators suffered a deterioration of streaming and web browsing experiences of up to 30% on certain days during afternoon hours.
  8. There was an up to 15% increase in web loading time (TOP Alexa sites) during the afternoon hours on the worst-performing days.
  9. There was up to a 10–15% increase in the start-up and loading time of videos (streaming) during afternoon hours (including peak time) on the worst-performing days.

As a reference, see below the impact on contracted download speed compliance for the week starting the 9th of March (W11) during peak time (20–21h), as the percentage of decrease against the week beginning the 17th of February (W8). All regions were affected in some way, but considering speed compliance as a reference, Piemonte, Toscana, Campania, and Sicilia had a relatively more severe degradation in FTTH and VDSL services.

Figure 1: Contracted download speed compliance decrease by region for FTTH/VDSL services during peak time (W11)


The critical issue during these extraordinary times is how networks will be able to cowithpe  the additional traffic of millions of home workers and family members at home due to isolation measures. 

Considering the latest traffic reports in Italy from one of the largest exchange points in the country, the Milan Internet Exchange, the overall peak trend remains stable but sustained since the maximum of the 10th of March (20–30% increase vs. previous maximum values pre-COVID-19 crisis). According to the reports from telco operators, they have observed a traffic increase between 50% and 70% in their fixed networks. 

We believe that telco operators will play a fundamental role in supporting society during this particular period and turn risks into opportunities for the overall industry. 

Check out our impact assessment and the value of MedUX solutions for monitoring, analysing, and troubleshooting network issues in real time by delivering end-to-end performance and Customer Experience insights based on objective network measurements. User reports and complaints, random performance tests, or simple high-level monitorization alone are not enough to resolve and prevent customer experience issues. 

MedUX ecosystem helps our clients reduce the time to insight by obtaining meaningful information about competitive intelligence and impacted customer services in a real-time, controlled testbed. Furthermore, it reduces the time to resolution by collecting detailed statistics about network performance and consequently responding quickly to customer issues and improving the Customer Experience. 

Please feel free to download our free report and country insights for Italy and do not hesitate to get in touch with us at hello@medux.com to find out more about the topic and further details about our statistics available across Europe. 

We have posted similar analysis for the United KingdomSpain and Germany, which act as a useful comparison to Italy. These reports offer insights into how the customer experience has been impacted in these markets by the coronavirus outbreak and work from home measures.



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