nbn demand remains high as speeds recover

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 25 May, 2020

nbn demand remains high as speeds recover

Demand for data over the nbn remains unusually high as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to NBN Co.

The company revealed that for the week beginning 11 May, peak download throughput over its network during business hours reached 12.7 Tbps, up 10% compared to the pre-COVID baseline in February.

Peak throughput rose to 14% above baseline — or 11.2 Tbps — during early evening hours and to 15% above baseline to 12.7 Tbps during the busy evening hours of 7 to 11 pm.

Peak upload throughput during business hours meanwhile nearly doubled over the same period to 0.98 Tbps. During evening busy hours, upload throughput was up 28% to 0.98 Tbps and during early evening hours throughput was up 38% to 0.94 Tbps.

To reflect the increased demand and respond to the need for social distancing measures, NBN Co has launched a virtual engagement program aimed at helping targeted customer groups — such as vulnerable Australians — get the most out of their internet experience.

“Each year our ambassadors attend hundreds of events, engaging with customers and giving Australians the opportunity to learn how to make the most of their nbn experience. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent social distancing measures, we’ve quickly moved to online engagement and tutorials,” the company’s Chief Customer Officer, Brad Whitcomb, said.

“Moving our ambassador program to an online delivery model allows us to provide nbn customers with the kind of ‘face to face’ contact they’ve come to depend on, while also ensuring our ambassadors and the community remain safe.”

As part of the program, ambassadors are available for 15-minute, one-on-one sessions run via either videoconferencing or audio. The company is also offering community groups the ability to host ‘nbn 101’ presentations.

Meanwhile, the ACCC has published its latest Measuring Broadband Australia report, demonstrating that the performance of the nbn has recovered after faltering during the early stages of Australia’s COVID-19 lockdown due to this increased demand.

The decision by NBN Co to offer a temporary increase of 40% more connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) capacity to its retail service provider customers helped the network’s performance bounce back to pre-COVID levels during April after falling sharply in mid-March after lockdown restrictions took effect.

Average speeds for 100 Mbps services fell by 23% during the lowest point, while speeds for 50 Mbps of services fell by 14%.

The bulk of the data from the report is usage data from February, before the lockdown commenced.

These figures show that nbn connections achieved average download speeds of about 85% of their maximum possible plan speeds during the month, with Optus having the fastest average connections of 89.3% of maximum plan speeds.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/esoxx

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