nbn congestion time shrinks dramatically

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 13 March, 2018

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The average time an nbn customer spends facing network congestion per week has fallen from nearly four hours to just 12 minutes, as a result of the temporary cut in connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) prices late last year.

Average network bandwidth congestion times — typically during peak times — declined sharply from 231 minutes during November 2017 to 12 minutes as of February, according to nbn co’s latest monthly progress report.

By comparison, network congestion had fallen just 59 minutes between February 2017 and November 2017, and had actually increased by seven minutes between February and August last year to 297 minutes.

But nbn co’s decision in December to introduce a temporary price promotion offering 50% more CVC per customer for the same price had a dramatic impact on congestion.

Likewise, the proportion of customers subscribing to broadband services with at least 50 Mbps downlink speeds — which had stayed flat at 16% for the previous year — increased to 25% as of February.

Operators including Telstra and TPG have already replaced their 25 Mbps tier plans with 50 Mbps plans at the same prices, with Telstra currently in the process of offering free automatic upgrades for its 850,000 customers on 25 Mbps nbn plans.

“We have listened to the community’s feedback and want to assure all Australians that the end-user’s customer experience is the number one priority of every employee working at nbn co,” said Brad Whitcomb, nbn co’s chief customer officer for the residential market.

“Significant progress has been made to improve the speeds delivered during peak hours, with internet and phone providers now provisioning more bandwidth on the network than before we announced our new wholesale pricing options.”

Although the CVC price cut has had the desired effects, Whitcomb told Fairfax Media that nbn co currently has no plan to keep the current price discounts after the promotional period ends. But he said the company is working on providing strong incentives to service providers to continue purchasing enough bandwidth to resolve congestion issues.

The monthly progress report also shows that 6.3 million premises are now ready to connect to the nbn, but this is down from 6.5 million as of November, likely as a result of the freeze on new activations using the hybrid fibre coaxial component of the network.

The number of premises connected has meanwhile increased to 3.6 million from 3.3 million as of November, and the company said it remains on track to complete the rollout and connect 8 million premises to the network by the end of 2020.

Image courtesy nbn co.

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