Friday, 03 April 2020 00:12

Broadband services drive up NBN data demand to record weekly high Featured

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Video conferencing, video streaming and accessing cloud-based office applications have driven a large increase in data demand on the NBN access network as more Australians turn to their broadband services for work, education and entertainment, according to a new report.

The launch of National Broadband Network operator NBN Co’s Australian Broadband Data Demand report, reveals the highest throughput (the measure of data flowing through the nbn access network) recorded in a week during each of the following three periods: the daytime business hours, early evening hours and busy evening hours.

The report release comes as more Australians self-isolate and increasingly rely on services over the NBN to remain connected to work, school and higher education, entertainment, family and friends.

Since the last week of February - when social distancing measures were not yet in effect - the peak download throughput recorded each week in the evening busy hours has increased by 25% to 13.8 terabits per second (Tbps).

And in addition the peak recorded in the early evening hours has increased 30% to 12.8Tbps, and the peak measured in business hours (Monday to Friday from 8am to 4:59pm) has increased 21% to 9Tbps (One terabit per second is equivalent to 1,000 gigabits per second or one million megabits per second).

According to NBN Co, while the peak throughput recorded in the daytime business hours has steadily climbed, it remains below the busy evening period when the peak data throughput on the main wholesale service is at its highest - and the increases in throughput in the busy evening period also remains well below the maximum capacity available on the nbn.

NBN Co says it considers the peak throughput metric as the most appropriate measure for growth in data flowing through the network, as it shows when usage is at its highest in each defined period.

“While this new metric measures the difference between peaks (which may occur at different times in each defined period), since social distancing measures were implemented, traffic on the nbn main wholesale service has also significantly grown with business hours usage increasing by more than 70 per cent (as shown in the graph below at 11am),” the company says.

“Across all three time periods, NBN Co expects the majority of data usage to be mainly dominated by real-time video streaming, web browsing, social media and online gaming. However, since the last week of February, there have likely been large increases in the use of video conferencing and business applications as more people work and study from home.”

NBN Co says the nbn has been engineered to support large capacity increases today and into the future to support Australia’s broadband needs, and as data demand has grown since social distancing measures were implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19, services over the nbn have continued to perform well.

The new report follows NBN Co’s announcement on 18 March that it will waive charges for additional capacity of up to 40% to Internet providers for at least three months, as it leads an industry-wide approach to maintain access to reliable, high-speed broadband for nbn residential and business customers.

By publishing the new statistics, NBN Co says it intends to keep Australians and Internet providers informed about the growing data demand over the nbn as more Australians continue to adhere to social distancing measures.

“Access to secure and resilient broadband is more important than ever for Australia’s business, education and entertainment needs and NBN Co seeks to support Australians during this time.,” said NBN Co Chief Customer Officer – Residential, Brad Whitcomb.

“As more people start to work and learn from home, we’ve seen a substantial increase in the peak throughput on our main wholesale service during the daytime business hours, early evening and busy evening periods. And as we continue to see these increases in data demand, the network continues to perform well, helping internet providers to support the internet needs of Australian homes and businesses,” said Whitcomb

“We are very pleased that the network continues to operate well in these unprecedented times and is accommodating the increased data load. It shows the nbn is well-prepared to handle Australia’s growing data demand at a time when the nation most needs high-speed, reliable broadband.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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