The call comes from Labor’s Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland who says if COVID19 social distancing measures, such as teleworking and school closures, result in increased peak traffic demand over the NBN, it could lead to congested speeds or higher wholesale costs for retail providers.
“At present, retail providers must purchase Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) capacity from the NBN to support their peak hour traffic demands, in addition to an access price for the network,” says Rowland.
Rowland says the NBN already supports significant peak hour data consumption, and for the time being, the capacity purchased by retail providers appears to be appropriate to meet these demands.
“However, if peak demand overtakes capacity, this may present telecommunications providers with a decision to either incur greater costs or to tolerate greater levels of NBN speed congestion.
“Labor considers these unique circumstances do lend themselves towards NBNCo providing retail providers with temporary and targeted capacity relief should these circumstances arise over the COVID19 period.
“These developments will need to be monitored as for the time being it’s too early to tell how the situation might play out.”
Rowland said Labor welcomed steps by the Minister, NBNCo and industry to examine these issues early on.
“Historically, there has been a lot of tension between NBNCo and retail providers on CVC pricing. If the need arises, this presents an opportunity for NBNCo to make a temporary gesture of goodwill in the public interest,” Rowland said.