Friday, 24 July 2020 16:56

NBN Co extends RSP capacity increase Featured

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NBN Co's temporary pricing relief for RSPs was to expire on 19 August, but has now been extended to 19 September "at which time it will be withdrawn."

The scheme provides RSPs with a credit to offset increases in certain wholesale capacity charges due to increased data use during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The corresponding adjustment to standard Sky Muster satellite data quotas has also been extended until 30 September 2020.

According to the company, these concessions have already provided participating RSPs with almost $80 million in credit.

"This is the right thing to do," said NBN Co chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb.

"We trust the data capacity initiative will first and foremost support Australians' heightened need for secure, high-speed access to broadband services at this critical time and, secondly, help give internet retailers the time and financial relief they need to adapt to their customers' changing data demands.

"It is also important to recognise that the underlying annual growth in data demand has maintained a consistent trajectory, and it is this sustained growth, aside from any COVID-19 related impact, that requires a long-term, well-considered, industry-wide response."

The announcement follows Aussie Broadband managing director Phillip Britt's recent statement that the industry will have to increase prices or reduce service quality once NBN Co stops providing 40% more CVC at no extra charge.

NBN Co said the network "continues to perform extremely well" despite the increased demands from people spending more time working, learning, gaming and streaming entertainment at home.

The peak download throughput record has once again been broken.

On the evening of Saturday 18 July, the peak was 14.8Tbps, up 34% on the pre-COVID baseline of the last week of February.

"The record peak that occurred last Saturday night coincided with 89 per cent concurrent usage across NBN-connected homes in Melbourne," said Whitcombe.

Peak demand during daytime business hours between 13 and 19 July was 9.4Tbps (up 21% from the baseline) and during the early evening it was 13.1Tbps, up 34%.

Peak business hours use still remains below the pre-COVID evening peak, suggesting that working and studying from home had no real effect on network congestion or the amount of CVC required by RSPs. Evenings are still the peak time for NBN use.

Some of the increased downloads have come from new customers. Since March 2020, more than 600,000 additional premises have connected to an NBN plan, taking the customer base to 7.5 million activated premises.

Upstream use is a slightly different story. While the ranking is still evening (0.92Tbps) followed by early evening (0.87Tbps) followed by business hours (0.83Tbps), the traffic levels are to be converging. This possibly reflects the greatly increased use of videoconferencing during the day, resulting in a disinclination to use such services for social purposes in the evening – who hasn't heard someone complaining that they are 'Zoomed out'?

Image: Lyncconf via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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