Wednesday, 25 March 2020 09:09

NBN Co lifts Sky Muster data limits for COVID-19

NBN Co's Sky Muster satellite being prepared for launch NBN Co's Sky Muster satellite being prepared for launch

NBN Co is allowing satellite users to consume additional data during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Standard Sky Muster connections are getting an extra 45GB of data per month for up to three months, but it is up to RSPs to pass this on to their customers.

According to NBN Co, this will effectively double the average monthly download limit.

The company will review demand and make further adjustments to the allocation if required.

Sky Muster Plus services will benefit from an increased range of applications do not count towards monthly data quotas.

From 1 April, and on an ongoing basis, all traffic on Sky Muster Plus plans will be unmetered, except for video streaming and VPN use.

However, some unmetered activities may be shaped to 256Kbps between 4pm and 11pm. Examples include "peer to peer traffic, uploads and downloads to cloud storage platforms, PC and smartphone operating system updates, software and gaming updates, and internet activity related to applications which NBN [Co] cannot identify."

Other changes to Sky Muster Plus include:

• a new 25GB+ plan, providing 25GB of peak data and 25GB of off-peak data for video streaming and VPN traffic (from 1 April)

• flexibility for RSPs to customise the data allowances on retail plans in increments of 5GB between 25GB and 150GB of peak and off-peak data (from 1 April)

• a mechanism allowing RSPs to offer 'top-up' data when customers use up their allowance (coming soon)

NBN Co chief development officer for rural and regional Gavin Williams said "Over the coming days and weeks, we are expecting a higher number of people in regional and remote communities across Australia to work from home and more children to be remotely school.

"In preparation for this greater demand for data and based on feedback from internet retailers and customers, we have decided to take this action to provide additional support for that expected increase in day-time usage expected to increase due to increased activity on the network.

"Our enhanced NBN Sky Muster Plus plans will help Australians be more in touch with loved ones, work remotely, use internet banking, and access important health and education services.

"NBN [Co] will continue to closely monitor data usage together with internet retailers, and will seek to implement any additional measures required where available including monitoring of the peak times, to support customers during these uncertain times.

"We want to reassure regional and remote communities across Australia that you are a priority for NBN [Co]."

Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR) welcomed the announcement.

"These are unprecedented times and it's great to see the NBN providing extra data to retailers at no cost," said founder Kristy Sparrow.

"We encourage retailers to pass the data allowance on in full to their customers. BIRRR urges all users to review their current plan and ensure that it meets their needs at this time, both for data, speed and customer service."


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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