SaskTel taking steps to ensure network performs during COVID-19 pandemic

SaskTel said it’s taking steps to ensure its customers have access to the communications services they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. File / Global News

SaskTel says while the ongoing extent and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are uncertain, it’s taking steps to make sure data capacity is adequate to handle the increased demands.

The Crown corporation said it realizes communications services are essential as customers have increased needs to work from home and remotely and is working to ensure the network continues to perform.

READ MORE: Leaked SHA document shows worst-case scenario outcome of coronavirus in Saskatchewan

As of March 23, SaskTel has seen small growth in demand for internet services, provincially, at a roughly five per cent increase in data traffic. Meanwhile, its national internet traffic has increased by around 25 to 30 per cent.

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Across the wireless voice network, demand has grown up to 16 per cent over the past week. From March 17 to 31, SaskTel is waiving all data overage charges for wireless customers.

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In regards to wireline voice traffic, SaskTel has seen a 100 per cent increase in call attempts. The Crown corporation said much of this is due to toll-free calling, partly associated with conference calling activity, and vendors are working to add system resources.

SaskTel said it has invested $1.4 billion in its networks over the past five years to enhance and expand wireless, television, internet, data, and IP-based technologies across the province.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Saskatchewan reports 6 new COVID-19 cases, bringing total to 72

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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