About That Pandemic

March 12th, 2020 by · 4 Comments

So the elephant in the room is obviously the ongoing spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 that has now earned the pandemic label. It's not about telecom and internet infrastructure, and yet it's invading every subject these days. Everyone, literally, is figuring this out in real time. So I thought I'd bring it up for discussion. What do readers think will be the effects?

There is one positive potential effect: universities, sporting events, and whatever else can go virtual instead of in-person are looking to go that way, which can only mean more traffic and more demand for the infrastructure to handle it. Social distancing means more data usage, any way you slice it.  Even the pandemic subsides, much of that acceleration toward more virtual interactions will surely remain with us.

But the indirect effects seem more than a little daunting. Supply chains are sure to be disrupted for the gear that service providers need to meet that demand. Components that come from areas already or soon to be in some form of lockdown or quarantine are likely to be delayed at best. How much inventory is available before backlogs grow? I have no idea, and I'd be curious to hear what others might know.

Will there be an impetus to roll out 5G more quickly? Or will chaos in the financial markets lead to caution in capex spending? I'm struggling to come up with an educated guess.  So, whether in Europe, the Americas, Asia, or Australia, if you have anything to share please leave a comment below.  What are you seeing, if anything?  Or what do you expect to see?

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Categories: Information · Telecom Equipment

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4 Comments So Far


  • Rob, you’re spot on. COVID-19 is forcing more infrastructure transformation. Is it just accelerating the pace of change or is it changing the end trajectory? I don’t think we know yet. But certainly, change is happening. One thing we noticed is that traffic to our website has increased 100% in the last month. Not sure if it’s directly related but it seems data center operators are looking for ways to more quickly scale cloud interconnects.

  • Anonymous says:

    It should ease the deployment of 5G. Many municipalities have taken the NIMBY approach and have slowed the deployments of 5G to a crawl. The influx of remote workers will strain current infrastructure, proving the need to upgrade to 5G.

  • Anon says:

    In our capital intensive industry keep an eye on the capital.

    Massive shifts online will consume capital for current infra & upgrades. There is no new or incremental risk capital for 5G, rural broadband or any other non-investment grade (ie cash flowing) opportunity. Hyperscalers (GOOG, MSFT, AMZN), Big Telecom (VZ,T) and IG data centers (DLR, EQIX) will be fine (thrive), but rest of industry to go through a very rough stretch, reminiscent of 2001/02.

  • Kidwell1 says:

    Lots of things in significant upheaval now. In a week our business, the internet and telecom, will be the most necessary part of the remaining economy until it’s over. When it’s over, I’d think the nation needs a significant revamp of our business continuity plan. We know what to do in natural disasters, or when power goes out, but this one is a different beast. There’s gotta be a way to correct for example truckers who can’t get a hot meal or shower, or address SMBs being closed down, without the government tossing staggering amounts of money around. By the end of this, we’ll be closer to $30t in debt, the carrying cost of that debt will be a third plus of tax revenues. Something else has to give, these politicians proving themselves as useless as we’ve always known they were.

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