Tuesday, 04 September 2018 11:32

Telstra customers downloaded 243,300TB in July alone, despite 'slow' NBN; telco offers new fixed broadband plans


Telstra's customers are voracious downloaders, with the top 10 most data-hungry suburbs revealed, as it revealed July 2018 monthly data usage per state. 

Australia's biggest telco has provided some really insightful and local data around how much Telstra broadband customers have been downloading between July 2017 and July 2018.

Based on this data, Telstra reports fixed broadband data usage increased around 40% over that year-long timeframe – which I personally note is despite the fact that most Australians don't have access to gigabit Internet that would deliver speeds 10 times faster or more.

However, Telstra notes that "as more ADSL customers move on to faster speeds on the NBN", the company is seeing "a significant data use uplift (nearly 50%)", to which I again note, just imagine how much bigger that data uplift would be on a gigabit or even multi-gigabit network!

So, even without a gigabit NBN, Australians are still downloading, just more slowly than they could, yet faster than your traditional ADSL connection would allow, along with faster upload speeds for most NBN users, too.

As you can see in the table below, out of all the states in Australia, Telstra tells us "NSW reigned supreme in July 2018 at 71.6 petabytes – downloading, binge-watching, listening, working-from-home, and double tapping their way to the top."

Anyway, Telstra then states that, "in fact, NSW households contribute 30% of the total amount of data consumed on Telstra’s fixed network".

"Netflix estimates its streams use up to 3GB per hour for each HD video stream. Which means in July 2018, total data used by Aussie households (243.3PB) is the equivalent to watching nearly 81 million hours, 3.38 million days, 112,638 months, or 9387 years of Netflix collectively."

Now, in case you were wondering exactly why Telstra decided to take the opportunity to share all of this data with us, it's not just because it's very newsworthy and really interesting, but it's also because Telstra has announced "refreshed fixed broadband plans". 

You can see the plans in full here, but with the 24-month plans, they start with a $69 per month plan with a woeful 100GB of data with "Standard Evening Speed" of 20Mbps download and 4Mbps upload. Then there's the $89 plan with unlimited downloads and a $99 plan with unlimited downloads, along with a Telstra TV which includes 24 months of Foxtel Now, both of which have "Standard Evening Plus Speed" of 40Mbps download and 15Mbps upload, with those (fixed line) speeds explained here.

Telstra's casual, month-to-month plans seem to be the same in that there's the $69 100GB plan, and the $89 unlimited plan, but there's no $99 plan with Foxtel Now. As far as month-to-month plans go this is pretty good as normally month-to-month plans are more expensive, so we probably have Vodafone to thank for this.

Telstra's other connection types and speeds are explained here

The company says that to support its customers’ "growing online habits, over the past fortnight we’ve given around 600,000 fixed broadband customers unlimited data allowances at no extra cost", and if you're one of these customers, Telstra will start letting you know from today, with this development following on "from the data boost to around three million customers last year".

This means as of today, "Telstra will have more than two million customers on unlimited data plans and also more than two million customers on the NBN", with this being the first time Telstra has revealed this information.

Clearly, none of this is enough to forestall or prevent 8000 Telstra employees being sacked up to 2022, when a new Telstra will emerge like a phoenix from the ashes of the old Postmaster General's great-grandson, but it is what it is and Telstra customers are supposed to be the beneficiaries.

Some other key takeouts Telstra has provided from the data:

  • Between July 2017 and July 2018, data usage on fixed broadband connections has increased by around 40% (this follows the rough trend of 40% increase YoY for the past five years).
  • The total usage volume per household have increased by 23% for ADSL and 26% for NBN from July 2017 to July 2018.
  • South Australia’s Munno Para takes the crown for the biggest data-using postcode in the nation with Telstra customers using an average of 331GB in July.
  • The state that used the most data per household in July is Northern Territory at 263GB.
  • The average Australian household used around 196GB (ADSL = 153GB; NBN = 210GB).
  • DSL customers use 47% more monthly data when they move to the NBN.

Here's Telstra's Monthly data usage per state (July 2018):

State – Data (GB) – GB/Accnt

NSW – 71,632,754 – 214
QLD – 68,701,264 – 225
VIC – 62,059,952 v 208
WA – 25,990,083 – 231
SA – 5,168,471 – 248
TAS – 4,167,961 – 231
NT – 2,926,876 – 263
ACT – 2,651,149 – 193

Top 10 suburbs data usage per state (July 2018):

State – Suburb – GB/Accnt

ACT – HARRISON – 339.1
QLD – MANGO HILL – 322.3
QLD – NARANGBA – 317.5
QLD – ORMEAU – 317.3
QLD – CAIRNS – 316.3

Jana Kotatko, head of Fixed Products at Telstra, said he wasn’t surprised at how customers’ data usage habits continued to grow, and stated: “It’s no secret Australians are streaming more content than ever before at home. Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Now, SBS on Demand, and all the other streaming services now available provide access to the most popular movies and TV shows as well as a host of other niche programming – there’s something for everyone these days.

“The growth of 4K televisions combined with faster internet speeds means Australians are watching videos in amazing quality and clarity, creating a much better entertainment experience than five years ago. Because of this improved experience as our customers move over to faster speeds on the NBN, we’re seeing their data usage increase.

“Customers expect their streaming experience to be seamless, and we’ve seen a strong increase in our NBN customer satisfaction measures recently as we continue to focus on this experience. In the past 12 months we’ve bestowed faster speeds to nearly 1.5 million customers and offered unlimited data across our most popular home internet bundles.

"We’re also providing the Telstra Smart Modem to more customers, which combines the latest Wi-Fi technology with a mobile backup service is also ensuring that our customers experience a fast and reliable service in their homes.”

Telstra also takes the opportunity to remind us it is "the market leader in delivering the NBN to Australians with two million customers connected":

  • In March, Telstra launched the NBN Satisfaction Guarantee for its customers where they have the option to cancel their service within 30 days with no penalty, if their broadband experience does not meet their expectations, which provides Telstra customers with piece of mind when upgrading through Telstra and highlights the importance its place on ensuring we meet its customers' needs
  • Telstra's smart modem has delivered "an exceptional customer experience" to almost 500,000 customers through the latest Wi-Fi technology and providing mobile back up on their fixed devices
  • Telstra has bestowed faster speeds to nearly 1.5 million NBN and cable customers, with the majority of its customers on the NBN Standard Plus speed tier currently experiencing an average of 45mbps download speeds
  • Telstra continues to deliver market leading streaming experiences to its customers and has now achieved 1st place in the Netflix speed index for the sixth month in a row (February through to July 2018)
  • Telstra was named the fastest broadband provider nationally in Australia on fixed networks in the 2018 Speedtest Awards by Ookla, a global leader in fixed broadband and mobile network speed testing and analysis.
  • Telstra's "innovative new technologies and focus on customer experience" are making a huge difference, with a noticeable increase in our customer satisfaction measures over the past six months

So, there you have it. Australia might not have a gigabit network from the NBN Co, and it might be a decade or more before we get one, and another five prime ministers in that time, but even so, Telstra's customers are voraciously downloading nevertheless, although if you end up one of those sacked Telstra employees, you'll probably be using Optus, Vodafone, Kogan NBN, Aussie Broadband or one of the other NBN providers that hasn't gone broke yet.

Happy downloading!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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