Tuesday, 27 February 2018 21:42

49Mbps will be highest speed needed by 2026: govt study Featured


A working paper released by the Department of Communications and the Arts on Tuesday claims that the rollout of the national broadband network should provide enough bandwidth for Australian households through to 2026.

The paper, titled Demand for fixed-line broadband in Australia, forecast that by 2026, the average household would use 420GB of data per month, more than four times the demand in 2016 which was put at 95GB per month.

The 42-page working paper, issued by the Department's Bureau of Communications and Arts Research said peak bandwidth demand for the households with the highest usage was forecast to increase from between 11Mbps to 20Mbps in 2016 to between 20Mbps to 49Mbps in 2026.

Ninety-eight percent of households were estimated to demand less than this bandwidth in 2026. In other words, only 2% of households were expected to demand more than 49Mbps bandwidth.

The paper said: "Bandwidth can be compared to the flow of traffic on a road, with the rate at which those cars travel dependent on the capacity of the road (the number of lanes) and the number of cars on the road at any given point in time.

"The more cars that use the road at the same time the slower will be the flow of traffic. In peak periods, it will take longer for any one vehicle to reach its destination."

The paper said that the following factors influenced both bandwidth demand for individual households and at a regional basis:

  • The number of households accessing data at any given point in time, which affects overall demand.
  • The demographics of those households, such as age and the number of people, which determines the propensity to use data-intensive applications.
  • Technology developments which may either increase demand for bandwidth, through the adoption and increased usage of new applications, or alleviate pressures on bandwidth, for example through compression technology which decreases file sizes of video.
  • The time of day, as aggregate household demand increases outside working hours, during evenings or weekends.

The report said it had taken into account the increasing use of video on demand, Internet-of-Things device growth, and virtual reality adoption when making predictions about bandwidth demand.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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