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NBN Co asks users to download, not stream | Information age

NBN Co asks users to download, not stream |  Information age

Hi streamers. stop clogging the bandwidth. Photo: Shutterstock

Satellite broadband users should download the movies and programs they want to watch in advance instead of streaming them, NBN Co has advised after adjusting the rush hour to offer its largely rural customer base unmeasured broadband for 16 hours every day.

Customers of the company’s Sky Muster Plus satellite service can now access virtual private networks (VPNs) and video streaming services between midnight and 4pm without counting against their monthly data surcharges, the company announced.

In a nod to its previous investments in deep packet inspection (DPI) technology, NBN Co can separate VPN and streaming services from “essential” activities – such as email, online banking, e-commerce and audio and video calling – that remain unlimited all day long .

Gavin Williams, NBN’s Regional Development Officer, positioned the latest move in response to a “comprehensive consultation with clients, communities and stakeholders who all said they wanted more data.”

Customers who are aware of broadband use during peak hours should plan ahead, the company said, by downloading content before 1 p.m. 16.00 to watch later, adjust the playback settings on video streaming services (for example, by disabling 4K streaming) and turn off auto-play settings for websites with built-in streaming content.

By moving periods of intense demand for bandwidth away from the most congested hours, NBN Co aims to spread the use more evenly, which has created congestion for many parts of the day.

At the end of 2020, a survey among regional broadband users found that two thirds of regional NBN users had speed problems, with many having to travel to the nearest city to get usable broadband.

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Such delays are potentially catastrophic for external students studying from home, disenfranchised residents who rely on services to maintain relationships with family and caregivers, and businesses that cannot provide a reliable Internet service.

Satellite services were “unsuitable” for normal business requirements, many residents held back, and congestion of services became so bad during the first days of the COVID-19 pandemic that NBN Co considered blocking 4K TV streaming for users to reduce congestion in regional areas.

The new levels of use “make it easier to manage data and give customers the freedom and security to do more with their data,” Williams said, promising to “continue to listen to customers and stakeholders and develop our service as their needs change.” .

In orbit around the competition

Nevertheless, NBN Co’s latest move is about more than just customer feedback: The company has quickly come under increasing competitive pressure from rival services such as the Elon Musk-backed SpaceX Starlink network, which formally entered the Australian market a year ago and is now the region’s fastest provider of satellite broadband.

Starlink delivered average downloads of 124.31 Mbps and upload speeds of 11.71 Mbps during the first quarter of this year, according to recently released figures from Speedtest manufacturer Ookla.

Ookla did not share Sky Musters’ actual performance, but the company said that average speeds for “all providers combined” reduced the average download speed down to 50.87 Mbps.

NBN Co currently offers plans that provide between 25 GB and 150 GB of data per month, with download speeds of 25 Mbps or 12 Mbps.

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Regional broadband advocate Kristy Sparrow, co-founder of Better Internet for Regional Rural and Remote Australia, said the group was “pleased that [its] Lawyer has resulted in better plans for small businesses, health and education in the bush. “

The new peak-time structure, she said, “will help transform regional users’ ability to access connectivity that meets their needs and keeps pace with current computing needs.”

The overhaul is part of a $ 750 million government investment that will expand NBN Co’s fixed wireless networks to many areas currently dependent on Sky Muster, and reduce the demand for congested satellite services.

With Starlink orbiting the globe and a growing number of satellite broadband options taking to increasingly crowded skies – including Internet of Things (IoT) networks from the likes of Kepler Communications and Astrocast – the satellite industry joined forces this month to raise concerns about the increasingly congested radio frequency the spectrum it depends on.

The industry body Communications Alliance recently launched a new position paper from its 23-member Satellite Services Working Group (SSWG), outlining a proposed band-by-band spectrum strategy to minimize congestion and interference, and ensure that the growing number of services can coexist. page. long term.

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