According to reports, NBN Co. is currently ‘evaluating’ throttling internet users during peak times in Australia, in an effort to tackle wireless network congestion. CEO Bill Morrow clarified at a Parliamentary hearing that users likely to be affected were “gamers predominantly”.
“While people are gaming it is a high bandwidth requirement that is a steady streaming process,” Mr. Morrow said. “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’.”
Labor’s Regional Communications spokesman, Stephen Jones, challenged the notion, and suggested Mr. Morrow had characterised gamers as a ‘problem’. Mr. Morrow denied the accusation, stating that Jones had put words in his mouth.
Mr. Jones said it was ‘extrodinary’ that NBN Co. had vastly underestimated usage patterns, and warned that growth would only continue.
“The only conclusion we can make is that there will be data rationing in the wireless footprint, as there is with satellite,” he said, referring to NBN Co.’s current policy of limiting users to 75 gigabyte limits during peak hours, per month.
Morrow stressed that the throttling idea was only one of many being considered. “This is a lot of brainstorming, we’ve got a team of people that we are constantly saying ‘how can we manage a scarce resource to be able to provide the best service for the people in this region that are served by fixed wireless technology, much like we had to do with satellite.”
NBN Co. is a corporate entity set up by the Australian Government in 2009; it was tasked to manage the nation-wide upgrade of the nation’s internet infrastructure. After the government change in 2012, the company switched from working with fibre to premises, to general FTTx and HFC. The company has faced criticism due to utilising pre-established copper networks in places.
The NBN is expected to finish rolling out nation-wide by 2020, with the network reaching theoretical peak speeds of 100Mbp.