Wednesday, 25 March 2020 11:53

COVID-19 puts extra strain on Internet, telcos urged to purchase more capacity Featured

By
Angus Kidman, Finder Angus Kidman, Finder

One in three (39%) Australians already face regular streaming dropouts and the demand for the Internet is about to surge as more Australians remain housebound due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to comparison website Finder which says telcos should purchase more capacity from the NBN to help Internet users working from home through the crisis.

According to Finder tech journalist Angus Kidman, with the Government’s announcement of the temporary closure of non-essential services, the surging demand for Internet will put a strain on the network – “not only from those working remotely, but also from people looking for other entertainment options following the cancellation of many sports and closure of pubs and bars, and people using online video for fitness sessions if they're housebound”.

“The NBN Co has said it will provision its network to offer faster services at a cheaper price. But it’s up to telcos to purchase more capacity, and usage is tricky to predict, so we can expect teething pains at the least,” Kidman said.

“NBN Co also just expanded the Sky Muster data allowance, which will ease the pressure on regional Australians attempting to work and study from home.

“Anyone using a smart TV, Apple TV or Chromecast will definitely notice the difference because of Netflix and YouTube's quality cut.

“And despite all these attempted fixes, Australians on lower-speed broadband plans are likely to still feel a strain.”

According to Kidman, if you are working from home, or you plan on catching up on a few TV series to ease the boredom, “it’s worth switching up to a plan with faster speeds – even if this is only temporary”.

“While the thought of switching right now might seem daunting, if you’re already on the NBN making the switch isn’t complex and you should be able to get service continuity.”

According to Finder’s Consumer Sentiment Tracker, 84% of Australians use streaming services such as Netflix and Stan — that’s 16 million Aussies accessing content online — and the survey of 11,215 Australians found that more than half (76%) have experienced issues when watching video content.

The survey also found that:

  • Two in five (39%) face the "dreaded" buffering wheel at least once a week, making for a disappointing streaming sesh.
  • This is made up of 21% who experience dropouts weekly, and 18% who experience them daily – equating to three million Aussies who have issues each day.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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