NBN Chief lays blame on gamers for high internet congestion

NBN Chief lays blame on gamers for high internet congestion
Photo: Olichel, Pixabay

Online video gamers have been identified by the chief of the National Broadband Network as a big cause of congestion on the NBN’s fixed wireless network.

NBN Co is currently “evaluating” a proposal to slow down or limit download for users at peak times in order to overcome the congestion issues.

At a parliamentary session in Sydney, Bill Morrow, the NBN Co chief executive, said that “gamers predominately” would be the group of heavy users affected by a proposed fair use policy. He said that gaming was a “high bandwidth requirement” that was a “steady streaming process”.

This new comes after Mr Morrow said in late April that the Government was to blame for slow NBN speeds.

After continued questioning, Mr Morrow said that the NBN Co did not have information on the usage of its end users that would identify them as gamers but referred to them as having a “familiarity” with gaming.

Stephen Jones, the regional communications spokesperson for Labor, brought up the issue again and made the suggestion that Mr Morrow had identified gamers as a “problem”. During the exchange, Mr Morrow said that Mr Jones had put words in his mouth.

Mr Morrow said all he had done was identify “super users” and asked if something should be done to “groom those down”. He said it was “a consideration”, nothing more.

In 2016, the Australian Communications and Media Authority found that the major increases in data traffic in Australia were being driven by the downloading of video content.

There is already a fair use policy that applies for NBN satellite customers that limits their peak-hour data to no more than 75 gigabytes over any 4 week period. NBN Co also revealed in May that it was forced to cancel plans for a 100 Mbps plan for fixed wireless because of excessive cost.

Mr Jones stated that it was “extraordinary” that the NBN Co did not properly estimate consumption patterns or the growth that would continue. He said that the only conclusion that could be reached was there would be “data rationing” as part of the “wireless footprint”.