Wednesday, 18 March 2020 18:23

NBN Co waives additional capacity charges of up to 40% till May Featured

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Stephen Rue: "NBN Co will play the critical role it was set up to fulfil, ensuring Australia’s wholesale digital infrastructure is robust, resilient and reliable." Stephen Rue: "NBN Co will play the critical role it was set up to fulfil, ensuring Australia’s wholesale digital infrastructure is robust, resilient and reliable." Supplied

The company rolling out Australia's national broadband network will waive charges for up to 40% additional use of CVC by retail service providers from 23 March onwards due to the additional load on the network, after many Australians started working from home this week after the coronavirus started spreading in the country.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the NBN Co said the concession would be for at least three months and would apply to all fixed line, fixed wireless and satellite technologies.

RSPs have to pay two kinds of charges to NBN Co. The AVC is a single price per connection based on the peak speed of that connection which means that higher speeds would cost more.

The second charge is for CVC – the total bandwidth that an ISP requests to use across all its services in an area.

The NBN Co said it would set the CVC usage charges which had been put in place in February as the baseline.

It said it would waive "any additional changes for overage that would otherwise be incurred by RSPs over the next three months, and will continue to monitor the situation in terms of any further decision making required".

NBN chief executive Stephen Rue said: "We have been in regular talks with retailers over the past couple of weeks to understand the wholesale network support they require to meet the needs of more Australians working from home and as individuals, couples and families across the nation are spending more time at home, and naturally wanting to stay productive and connected to family and friends.

“We’re proud to play our part to keep Australians connected and productive through this crisis.

"Data carriage on the NBN has already increased by around 5% to 6% over the last few days as customers have increasingly started to work from home.

"The NBN is performing well, and we have not seen or experienced any significant traffic congestion on the network."

Rue added that the additional capacity pricing relief would be offered at no additional cost and would help support significantly greater data use on the network throughout the day and during peak evening times.

"The offer will be made available to the industry from Monday in time to meet the steadily growing data consumption patterns of residential and business customers," he said.

The Australian Labor Party welcomed the NBN Co's decision, with Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland congratulating the company for "acting in the public interest".

On Monday, Labor had called on the company to consider temporary capacity relief.

"Connectivity is vital, whether it be for teleworking, telehealth, education or keeping our spirits up with entertainment," she said.

"This is an example of how industry can work together to support the Australian community during times of crisis. We saw this during the bushfires and I am pleased we have seen it again this week."

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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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