Working from home brings light to Mid-South internet issues

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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Working from home has become indispensable in this new world of social distance and quarantine.

But people working from home might be now much more aware of their internet's capabilities and problems.

"I have my husband working from home as well as my college son," Germantown resident Cindy Knox said.

That means homework, tests and meetings all use the internet.

"It can be a problem for both when the lag time gets to be long," Knox said. "For instance, my son has exams coming up, and they’re typed, so you can log on, take test, but if you run out of time or it throws you off, you cant get back in."

WREG tested Knox's internet using a diagnostic website. It came in at a slower rate than what she’s paying for.

"As people of faith, we look forward to streaming services on Sundays and connecting with our friends, and that’s hard, too, when it’s not performing."

These issues are happening because the wireless internet system is overloaded.

Providers are aware of the issues, and they’ve all posted COVID-19 alert messages on their websites with special allowances.

Comcast and AT&T are waiving overage fees, saying residential customers can use unlimited internet.

Verizon announced it’s increasing its investment in upgrading to the 5G network.

All of the providers said they’re monitoring usage as it shifts from evening to daytime.

But so far, none of the companies we contacted have provided a fix or advice for customers like Knox.

"For my son, it’s extremely slower than what he’s used to at school," she said. "What would take him 30 minutes is taking him an hour to an hour and a half to do."

She’s not sure what providers can do but hopes they start addressing it soon.

If you have Verizon, they have not shifted to an unlimited data plan, so be careful if you’re using that to connect. WREG did reach out to them to ask them why haven't done this, and we’re still waiting to hear back.

Disclaimer: Cindy Knox is related to a WREG employee.

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