The NBN offer on extra capacity has been extended to 19 August this year and will have run for more than five months at completion in August, resulting in NBN Co “providing more than $40 million so far in financial relief to Internet providers and helped support increased levels of data use during COVID-19”.
NBN Co has also extended its offer to increase download data limits for its standard Sky Muster service to 90GB of data on average until the end of August. The offer, which came into effect at the end of March, provides an additional 45GB for each standard Sky Muster service at no additional cost to Internet providers.
“We are proud to have supported the telecommunications industry and the nation through this pandemic as Australians increasingly relied on their home broadband connections for work, study and entertainment,” said Brad Whitcomb, Chief Customer Officer – Residential at NBN Co.
“Alongside this capacity boost, we also increased data download limits for Sky Muster satellite customers and announced up to $150 million of financial relief and assistance packages to help keep low-income households and small and medium businesses facing hardship stay connected.
“While we must all remain vigilant to keep the spread of COVID-19 contained, we are encouraged that social distancing restrictions are easing and many Australians are starting to enjoy a more normal way of life again.”
NBN Co’s initial capacity offer was launched in March to give Internet providers pricing relief for up to 40% more Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) capacity, where available and required, to respond to increased COVID-19 related user demand.
The end of the capacity offer comes as NBN Co says average data volumes across the NBN network’s main wholesale service show signs of slowing down from the March and April periods when more people were confined to their homes during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia - and during this same period, “more than 400,000 new customers have signed up to the NBN network”.
“In recent weeks we have seen data demand on NBN’s main wholesale network settle into a new normal as more Australians head back to work and school. Since the start of March, NBN has added over 400,000 new connections and there has been three months of normal usage growth,” Whitcomb said.
“Just as it is important that the nation, businesses and schools get back to a more normal way of life, it is important that Internet providers also have the certainty they need to get back to their usual operations.”
Whitcomb noted that NBN Co has recently introduced other new measures to improve customers’ experience of the NBN which will help during the eventual wind-down of the 40% additional capaci ty - including the introduction of national pooling of CVC capacity - which allows RSPs to share unused data capacity across all geographic areas associated with 121 Points of Interconnect - and additional data allocations for most wholesale speed tiers that came into effect on 1 May.
The Labor Party's Shadow Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland welcomed NBN’s capacity extension.
“Labor welcomes steps by NBNCo to extend capacity to retail providers until mid-August," she said.
“This is a responsible move that will assist industry and consumers, as social distancing restriction begin to ease.
“We argued that a CVC snapback was not practical and today’s announcement is evidence of that.”