NBN’s surprising excuse for congestion
THE National Broadband Network is evaluating how to fix wireless congestion problems after discovering what it believes is the cause of the problem.
At a parliamentary hearing in Sydney on Monday, NBN chief executive Bill Morrow blamed those pesky online gamers for being the major cause of congestion on the network.
"While people are gaming it is a high bandwidth requirement that is a steady streaming process," Mr Morrow told the committee, reports ABC.
"This is where you can do things, to where you can traffic shape - where you say, 'no, no, no, we can only offer you service when you're not impacting somebody else'."
As part of a fix for the problem, Mr Morrow said the NBN would consider introducing a fair use policy similar to the one that already applies to satellite users that limits peak-hour data usage of individual customers to no more than 75 gigabytes in any four week period.
While the NBN doesn't have access to the end-user information needed to confirm gamers are directly responsible for the congestion, Mr Morrow seemed confident as the information had come from "people who do have familiarity with it".
The parliamentary hearing became heated when Labor's regional communications spokesman Stephen Jones suggested Mr Morrow had labelled gamers as a "problem".
The NBN chief replied and accused Mr Jones of putting words into his mouth.
"I said there were super users out there consuming terabytes of data and the question is should we actually groom those down? It's a consideration," Mr Morrow said.
Mr Jones hit back with suggestions the NBN had greatly underestimated consumption patterns and needed a better fix with data consumption expected to grow.
"The only conclusion we can make is that there will be data rationing in the wireless footprint, as there is with satellite," he said.
A spokesman for Communications Minister Mitch Fifield put the onus back on Labor.
"If we had stuck to Labor's planned fixed wireless and satellite coverage, at least 200,000 homes and farms would have found themselves without any service at all," the spokesman said.
"NBN is taking steps to upgrade and augment the group of towers experiencing congestion, and is prudently planning to manage future demand so that fixed wireless users can make the most of the available network capacity."
234,000 homes are currently connected to the fixed wireless component of the NBN, which covers approximately 600,000 Australian homes in total.