NBN Co is responding to the shift in Australia’s internet usage patterns as more people choose to work, study, shop and stream more content at home as the nation responds to the impact of COVID-19. During this period of self-isolation, digital connectivity will also be a primary channel for people to stay in touch with family and friends.
NBN Co 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 NBN is dimensioned to exceed the nightly peak busy hour throughput requirements. NBN Co also routinely plans for days of exceptionally high traffic and is working with its 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% 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.
NBN Co 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.
NBN Co Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Rue said: “The role of the NBN has never been more important than now and what we see unfolding over the weeks ahead. For many Australians, broadband and mobile networks will become the primary channel for work, study, entertainment, ordering food and maintaining contact with the outside world.
“The telecommunications industry 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.
“We are in the fortunate position that more than 90% of the NBN rollout has been delivered, so the vast majority of Australians already have access to it, which will serve them should they need or want to spend more time at home.”
NBN Co Chief Customer Officer – Residential, Brad Whitcomb added: “We are absolutely committed to supporting customers at this crucial time and we have built considerable strength and resilience into our network. We are ready to add capacity as required to produce the best possible customer experience.”
To ensure customers get the best in-home experience from the NBN, there are some important things to consider:
Get the right speed – If your internet is slow, it may be because you are on an entry level internet plan. Call your internet retailer and talk to them about the number of devices you have connected and how you are using the internet to find out if you have the right retail plan to support your needs.
Get the right plan – Most home internet plans are used primarily to download and have great download speeds, but aren’t as strong in uploading. When working from home, you may have a greater need for uploading files and joining Skype calls, so speak with your internet retailer to make sure your plan has the upload speeds you need to work from home.
Get optimum performance – Keep your modem in a central location in the home, ideally close to where you’re working. If housed in a cupboard, under a desk, or at the other end of your house, this will reduce the speed you receive. Some routers may not deliver the best performance. If you’re concerned about the age or quality of your router or modem, seek advice from your internet retailer on possible upgrade options.
If your internet is down, it could be the Virtual Private Network (VPN) settings you use to access your corporate intranet and files. Check to see if Google or other websites are working. If they are, then you may need to consult your organisation’s IT help desk for remote networking troubleshooting advice.