NBN Co is reportedly considering slowing down the internet speeds of heavy users during peak periods.
That NBN fixed wireless is struggling in some areas is no secret. A furor erupted earlier this week over comments attributed to NBN Co Chief Bill Morrow that seemed to have him putting the blame on gamers.
When asked about identifying the heavy users who are impacting the majority of other users, Mr. Morrow has been quoted as saying “It’s gamers predominantly on fixed wireless”.
NBN Co disagreed with some of the reporting and followed up with a clarification, quoting Mr. Morrow:
“I said there are “super users” out there consuming terabytes of data and the question is should we actually groom those down.”
Regardless of who said what about whom, NBN Co states gamers could be affected by a “fair use” policy, if one was introduced.
“Mr Morrow said that to prevent the heavy users from impacting the majority, their usage could potentially be shaped in the busy period and they could download as much as they want at other times,” says NBN Co.
In April, the ABC reported fewer than one in two cells on NBN Co’s fixed wireless internet towers can achieve “busy-hour” speed of 25 Mbps – an issue that the company is addressing.
“Grooming”, “throttling” or “shaping” are all terms that typically mean the same thing – slowing the connection of particular users.
The problems with NBN fixed wireless doesn’t appear to be the technology per se – fixed wireless done right is very robust. NBN Co’s woes have to do with contention ratios; where a certain amount of bandwidth is assigned to a certain number of users. It works on the basis that most of those users won’t be online at once and carrying out bandwidth intensive activities. If this calculation is incorrect, trouble results.
Lightning Broadband Says No To Throttling
Shaping as standard practice is not on the cards for non-NBN fixed wireless provider Lightning Broadband, based in Melbourne.
“Lightning Broadband welcomes gamers and heavy users on our fixed wireless plans – that’s what they are designed for. These customers can use our service to their heart’s content – no throttling and no data caps,” said the company’s CEO, Jeremy Rich.
“We closely monitor demand on our infrastructure in any area we operate. Where it increases, we simply upgrade equipment or assign more bandwidth to meet that demand. This ensures we can continue to provide stellar service – and it’s not that difficult to do”.