Most households don't need high data speeds
The federal government has published new research claiming that just 2% of Australian households will require broadband speeds of over 49 Mbps in 2026.
Peak bandwidth demand reached 11–20 Mbps in 2016 and is forecast to grow to between 20–49 Mbps in 2026, with 98% of households expected to demand less than this, the report from the Bureau of Communications and Arts Research asserts.
The Coalition’s nbn rollout plan calls for 90% of the nbn fixed-line footprint to be capable of delivering download speeds above 50 Mbps by 2020, and for all premises to be able to receive peak wholesale speeds of at least 25 Mbps by this time.
“Today, Australians are using between a third and a half of the nbn’s capacity for entertainment services such as on-demand video. Netflix recommends a connection speed of just 5 Mbps to stream high-definition video and 25 Mbps to stream large-screen 4K video,” Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield said.
The government is using the findings to try to claim that its multitechnology mix model will be more than adequate to meet anticipated demand and that customers are not willing to pay for higher-speed services.
But critics have long asserted that take-up of higher-tier services is limited by nbn co’s high wholesale prices, and that demand for high-tier services will follow from the introduction of new services to take advantage of the higher speeds, which will depend on the availability of such services at prices consumers are willing to pay.
The report also found that demand for data will grow exponentially in the next few years, growing from an average of 95 GB per connection per month in 2016 to 420 GB per month in 2026.
More than half of the forecast growth in data downloads will come from households accessing video over an internet connection, largely as a result of the rise in popularity of streaming services.
Key drivers for increasing demand for both bandwidth and data include household composition, demographic changes, technology developments and adoption.
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