Australia’s gamers have been blamed for nationwide broadband woes, resulting in talks of data throttling during peak hours.
Speaking at a Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network in Sydney on Monday, NBN CEO Bill Morrow suggested that “extreme users” on fixed wireless were slowing down the network during peak hours.
“Our average consumption across the NBN network is just under 200 gigabytes per month, and when you look at…fixed wireless, it’s substantially less than that,” he said. “However…there’s a large portion that are using terabytes of data.”
When asked to identify the users in questions, Morrow responded, “It’s gamers predominantly, on fixed wireless.”
"While people are gaming, it is a high bandwidth requirement that is a steady streaming process."
He then went on to propose a solution for the data congestion.
“One of the things we’re evaluating [is] a form of fair use policy to say we will groom these extreme users,” he told the committee.
“Now the grooming could be that, during the busy period of the day when these heavy users are impacting the majority, that they actually get throttled back to where they’re taking down what everybody else is taking down.
"This is where you can do things… where you say, 'no, no, no, we can only offer you service when you're not impacting somebody else.'"
He went on to explain that users would be free to use as much data as needed outside the peak hours of 7pm and 11pm.
NBN Co already applies a fair use policy to its satellite service, which limits peak-hour usage to 150GB a month.
Although he confessed that as a Layer 2 provider, NBN Co does not receive information to show specifically how individuals are using their data, Morrow was confident that limiting usage of gamers would be for the greater good.
“If we did groom them [gamers] during the busy time of the day, it would be a substantial lift for people.”
Morrow did stress that “no decision” had been made on the issue.
The discussions on grooming come just days after it was confirmed that plans for superfast 100Mbps NBN had been killed.