NBN Co is responding to a shift in Australia’s internet usage patterns that will occur as more people choose to work, study, shop and stream more content at home as the nation responds to the impact of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus). During this period, digital connectivity will also be a primary channel for people to stay in touch with family and friends.NBN Co’s team of data scientists and network engineers have been studying data consumption patterns in other countries that have been significantly impacted by the pandemic in recent weeks. At the same time, the company’s engineering teams have been planning for, and strengthening the network to help meet residential data demand that will likely surge, based on overseas examples, at different times of the day and night.
NBN Co is well-advanced with its contingency plans and will incrementally increase its data capacity allocation to retailers to accommodate the expected growth in residential data demand. It is requesting that retailers place their forward orders for CVC (capacity) in the normal way, and NBN Co will increase capacity as required to meet demand.
The national broadband network is dimensioned to exceed the nightly peak busy hour throughput requirements from our customers. NBN Co also routinely plans for days of exceptionally high traffic and is working with our European colleagues to understand the potential impacts of isolation events on broadband capacity.
On Saturday 14 March, with many Australians spending more time at home, network traffic was up by more than 5 per cent on the previous Saturday. NBN Co will continue to monitor and augment the network as quickly as possible to meet potential demand surges. The nbn’s peak throughput is typically at around 9pm and, by comparison, during standard business hours of 9-5pm, network traffic is usually around half that of the evening peak.
The company is also planning to limit non-essential maintenance to minimise scheduled, planned outages in the weeks ahead to maintain network availability as much as possible.
“The nbn is part of Australia’s critical infrastructure, and the role of the network has never been more important than now and what we see unfolding over the weeks ahead. For many Australians, the nbn and other broadband and mobile networks will become the primary channel for work, study, entertainment, ordering food and maintaining contact with the outside world.
As a telecommunications industry, we will work together to keep Australians connected and productive through this crisis. These are unprecedented times and we are already seeing a steady increase in demand on the nbn, and this is set to continue. In terms of the expected requests for additional CVC capacity, we will work with the Industry to find the best solution. Clearly we all need to play our part.
We are actively working with retailers and have the complete support of our government stakeholders to ensure we do everything possible to optimise the nbn to support the expected increase in residential use.
We are in the fortunate position that more than 90% per cent of the national broadband network rollout has been delivered across the country, so the vast majority of Australians already have access to fast, reliable, secure broadband, which will serve them should they need or want to spend more time at home.” – nbn Chief Executive Officer Stephen Rue