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Slow internet speed leaves people frustrated

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Mr. Tien, supervisor of a computer shop in Hanoi’s Cau Giay district, said: “

A reliable Internet connection is essential to the success of any computer store, he said.

Tien signed up for internet packages with three different providers and installed internet boosters to ensure maximum connection speeds even if one of the carriers went down.

Person measuring internet speed on PC and mobile phone in Hanoi. Photo credit: VnExpress/Luu Quy

However, four of the five submarine cables linking Vietnam to the world are broke earlier this weekInternet speeds between Vietnam and the rest of the world are slowing down due to the fact that Vietnam currently has only one fully functional submarine cable.

When Tien tried to download software from a foreign website on January 30, he was shocked to find that the download speed was less than 1 Mbps, hundreds of times slower than before.

This made both the store and customers uneasy, he said.

Software installations that normally take only a few minutes suddenly take significantly longer due to slow network speeds.

Even the most basic internet browsing activities aren’t as smooth as they used to be.

Tien often plays 4K YouTube videos for customers to check the screen quality of their devices. But now every video he tries to play is scaled down to the lowest quality.

The high-definition images used to check the quality of the product the customer is considering purchasing on the e-commerce site are blurry.

Nhat Anh, head of a digital startup company in Hanoi’s Thanh Xuan district, is frustrated with user and operational issues whenever his company’s internet goes down.

“The unstable internet connection slowed down employee workflow,” he lamented. “Customers without access to our service assume that our service is also at fault.”

January 30th, VnExpress A survey of over 5,500 users found that 93% of respondents saw their internet speed slow down, 5% stayed the same, and 2% said it sped up.

Some Internet Service Providers have said that this is a more serious Internet connectivity issue than they have faced in the past.

HCMC’s Huynh Anh said he usually switches to using 4G whenever his home internet goes down. He complained that the method was “useless” at the moment.

“The nature of my job requires me to access social media sites on a daily basis for professional purposes.” Both will slow down your connection speed.”

On Jan 31, 2023, using the Facebook app on a phone with an LTE connection in Hanoi fails to display images. Photo by VnExopress/Luu Quy

On Jan 31, 2023, using the Facebook app on a phone with an LTE connection in Hanoi fails to display images. Photo by VnExopress/Luu Quy

What Causes a Slow Internet Connection?

Internet speeds in Vietnam have been erratic for months after the end of 2022 when connection problems with submarine cables AAG, APG and AAE brought down connections through AAG and APG completely.

Additionally, on January 28th, we experienced a problem with our intra-Asia (IA) cable.

The latest break means SMW3, the only submarine cable connecting Vietnam globally, is fully functional.

A representative for internet provider Viettel said it was the first time all four major submarine cables connecting Vietnam and the rest of the world had problems at the same time. Carriers have implemented all the best solutions to handle this.

A VNPT representative said that the fact that four cables encountered problems at the same time was due to particularly busy user times and high internet bandwidth during online activities (online gaming, video streaming, etc.).

The service provider said it was working with the department that manages the submarine cable to resolve the issue and deploy other measures to optimize data transfers. However, many people say that their internet connection is still not getting faster.

This anomalous internet transmission problem occurred as Vietnam worked to upgrade its telecommunications infrastructure.

As stated in its 2022 annual report, the Ministry of Information and Communications aims to have 76% of the population online by 2023.

One of the telecom sector’s goals from now until 2024-2025 is to increase regional and international internet connectivity with the goal of making Vietnam a regional connectivity hub.

However, the international connectivity connecting Vietnam to the rest of the world is considered inadequate.

Vietnam is currently connected by seven submarine cables: SMW3, AAG, IA, APG, AAE-1, SJC2 and ADC.

According to the fastest data in December 2022, Vietnam’s fixed broadband internet speed reached 82 Mbps, ranking 46th in the world. Meanwhile, mobile internet speed reached 42 Mbps, ranking 51st in the world.

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