NBN pricing structure - nbn congestion

Fixed wireless NBN congestion blamed on online gamers

As many of our readers would know, there have been multiple recurring issues with the rollout of the National Broadband Network in Australia. In no part, this is because the network was implemented by somebody who confesses they are not proficient in technical matters. Of course, the congestion and other technical issues could have been reasonably foreseen. But now the CEO of NBN Co, Bill Morrow is pointing the finger at online gamers as the culprits for the congestion seen in the fixed wireless network.


NBN rollout map - nbn congestion


Mr Morrow made these claims in a parliamentary hearing this afternoon. Sadly, Mr Morrow doesn’t seem to have read his own website, which states that “certain online games (World of Warcraft) use as little as 10MB per hour” and the original Destiny used up to 100MB per hour. Hardly challenging requirements. That’s 225 kilobits per second. If the NBN can’t keep up with this kind of demand, then this network is inadequate.


What a pile of tosh. In fact, on the same web page, NBN Co states that streaming in 4K will use up about 7 gigabytes of data per hour. That’s more than an order of magnitude more than any online game could possible use. Further, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found that the increase in data usage is mainly down to video content. This is the real cause of wireless NBN congestion, not gamers.


5G devices - lte network bugs - nbn congestion


But it seems that nobody in Canberra wants to admit they’d gotten demand wrong. They just want to blame each other, as usual. Certainly, the current government doesn’t want to admit at this late stage that the multi-technology mix might be inadequate for future demand. Due to the cost of wired connections, the decision was made to have up to 600,000 homes connected to fixed wireless towers. Anybody who understands basic network technology knows that sharing wireless bandwidth, particularly high intensity stuff like Netflix will result in network congestion. Wired networks don’t have the same kind of problems.


What does this mean? As the fixed wireless network uptake continues, and more streaming is utilised, network congestion will be worse. There is already data rationing on Sky Muster services (75GB per four weeks), so it might not be surprising that NBN Co will start shaping fixed wireless in the future.


All this just goes to show that the NBN is inadequate for current demand, let alone future demand. Something needs to be done to fix this and other issues plaguing the rollout of the network. Otherwise, NBN congestion is going to be the norm going forward to thousands and thousands of households.

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