Tien, a supervisor at a computer store in Hanoi’s Cau Giay district, said: “There was a time when it would take just a few seconds to download a file of several hundred megabytes. And here I am counting my blessings that the download was generally successful.”
A reliable Internet connection is critical 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 speed even if one of the operators went out.
A person in Hanoi measures Internet speed on a computer and mobile phone. Photo: VnExpress/Luu Quy
However, four of the five submarine cables connecting Vietnam to the world broke earlier this week. The fact that Vietnam currently has only one fully functional submarine cable has caused slow internet speeds between Vietnam and the rest of the world.
When Tien tried to download some 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 lower than before.
That angered both the store and customers, he said.
Software installations that would normally only take a few minutes were suddenly taking significantly longer due to the slow network.
Even the simplest Internet search activities are not as smooth as they used to be.
Tien often plays 4K YouTube videos for customers to test the display quality of the device. But now all the videos he tries to play are downgraded to the lowest quality.
E-commerce sites have blurred the high-resolution images that customers use to check the quality of products they are considering buying.
Nhat Anh, head of a digital startup in Hanoi’s Thanh Xuan district, worries about user and operational issues when his company’s internet goes down.
“Unstable internet connection has slowed down my staff,” he said. “Customers who can’t access the service also assume there are problems with our services.”
On January 30 VnExpress It surveyed more than 5,500 users and found that 93% of respondents had lower internet speeds, 5% had no change, and 2% had higher speeds.
Several ISPs say this is a more serious Internet connection problem than the ones they’ve had before.
Huynh Anh from HCMC said that he usually switches to 4G when the internet is down at home. He complained that this method is currently “useless”.
“In connection with my work, I have to access sites on social networks for professional purposes every day. “However, even a single image takes quite a long time to load. Connection speeds on both Wi-Fi and 4G are poor.”
In Hanoi, January 31, 2023, images cannot be displayed when using the Facebook app on a phone with an LTE connection. Photo: VnExopress/Luu Quy
What slows down your internet connection?
Vietnam’s internet speed has been unstable for months in late 2022 following connection problems with the AAG, APG and AAE submarine cables, which completely cut off connectivity through AAG and APG.
In addition, there was a problem with the Intra Asia (IA) cable on January 28.
The latest rupture means that only one undersea cable, SMW3, which connects Vietnam to the global scale, remains fully operational.
A representative of internet service provider Viettel said it was the first time that all four major submarine cables connecting Vietnam to the rest of the world had experienced a problem at the same time. The carrier has implemented all the best solutions to manage this.
A VNPT representative said that the fact that four cables are experiencing problems at the same time means that international internet connections across Vietnam will be more or less affected, especially during busy user hours and for those whose online activities require high internet bandwidth (online gaming, video). stream etc.).
The service providers said they were working with the units that manage the submarine cables to fix the problems, as well as taking other measures to optimize data transmission. However, many people say that their Internet connection is still not up to speed.
This unusual problem with Internet transmission occurred as Vietnam tried to develop its communications infrastructure.
As stated in its annual report for 2022, the Ministry of Information and Communications aimed to have 76% of the population online by 2023.
Between now and 2024-2025, one of the goals for the telecommunications sector is to increase regional and international internet connections with the aim of making Vietnam a regional connectivity hub.
However, the international connections connecting Vietnam with the rest of the world are considered inadequate.
Vietnam is currently connected to seven submarine cables: SMW3, AAG, IA, APG, AAE-1, SJC2 and ADC.
The fastest data as of December 2022 shows that Vietnam’s fixed broadband internet speed reached 82 Mbps, ranking the country 46th globally, and 51st worldwide with mobile internet speed reaching 42 Mbps.