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NBN Co braces for data surges as Australians socially isolate

NBN Co braces for data surges as Australians socially isolate

Called on by Labor to temporarily slash wholesale capacity prices

Credit: NBN Co

NBN Co is facing increased pressure on its network as the COVID-19 pandemic sees thousands of Australians work from home.

The broadband provider claimed it would  “incrementally increase” its data capacity allocation to retail service providers (RSPs) in anticipation of a shift in peak traffic hours.

RSPs are being requested to put forward orders for Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) -- or capacity -- in “the normal way”, while NBN Co increases capacity based on the demand.

NBN Co declined to comment on calls by Labor MP Michelle Rowland to temporarily slash wholesale capacity prices during the crisis.

“Historically, there has been a lot of tension between NBN Co and retail providers on CVC pricing,” she said in a statement. “If the need arises, this presents an opportunity for NBN Co to make a temporary gesture of goodwill in the public interest.”

NBN Co instead said it was working with European “colleagues” to understand the impact of social isolation on capacity, while limiting non-essential maintenance.

According to the provider, last Saturday’s traffic was up by more than five per cent upon the previous week as more people spend time at home. 

“As a telecommunications industry, we will work together to keep Australians connected and productive through this crisis,” NBN Co CEO Stephen Rue said.

“These are unprecedented times and we are already seeing a steady increase in demand on the NBN, and this is set to continue. In terms of the expected requests for additional CVC capacity, we will work with the Industry to find the best solution. Clearly we all need to play our part.”

Telstra meanwhile also declined to comment on Rowland’s statement, but added it would provide small business broadband customers with unlimited data at no additional charge until 30 April 2019.


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