A parliamentary hearing in Sydney got an extra touch of spice yesterday, after the chief executive of NBN Co appeared to finger one group of users supposedly responsible for congestion on NBN's fixed wireless network: gamers.
The outgoing CEO, who is due to step down before the end of the year, announced that NBN was investigating a "fair use" policy that would throttle data usage for the heaviest users on the fixed wireless network.
In remarks that were reported by the ABC and The Guardian, Bill Morrow initially explained that there was a group of users that were consuming "terabytes" of data. When asked by Labor shadow regional communications minister Stephen Jones to explain who these extreme users were, the NBN chief replied that they were "gamers predominately, on fixed wireless".
"While people are gaming it is a high bandwidth requirement that is a steady streaming process," the Guardian reported Mr Morrow as saying. The NBN chief was also quoted as saying "while people are gaming it is a high bandwidth requirement that is a steady streaming process".
Morrow later tried to refocus his comments on the "super users out there consuming terabytes of data", and added that he did not have the behavioural data on hand to confirm those super users were actually gamers.
And like clockwork, the internet had a field day. Users in particular focused on Morrow's point about the amount of data used while playing games, a contention that doesn't seem supported by imagery on NBN Co's own website:
— Joab Gilroy (@Joabyjojo) June 4, 2018
Others focused on breaking down the raw data used by various applications, while others expressed their dismay at Morrow's previous public assertions.
Online gaming requires hardly any bandwidth ~10+ megabytes per hour.
A 720p video file requires ~ 500+ megabytes per hour.
One user watching a YouTube video occupies the same bandwidth as ~50 video gamers.
The NBN chief might not be suitably qualified for this role.
— Danny Williams (@Danny14723431) June 4, 2018
A 40 minute game of LoL takes about 17MB, a big FPS like PUBG about the same if not a touch higher.
A 4 minute YT video in 720p is around 40MB. You can double that for 1080p, which the NBN is meant to handle on multiple devices per household.
— Alex Blaikie (@GoGoGadgetCasts) June 4, 2018
— Lazza (@lazzamar) June 4, 2018
The NBN is unable to cope with current demands, so projected increase in demands points to a crippled system in the near future. Billions wasted and potential destroyed. Thanks Malcolm.
— John Arthur adams (@JohnArthuradam1) June 4, 2018
This is the same bloke who says that Aussies wouldn't use faster internet even if it was free ... How is this guy the CEO of NBN? https://t.co/7FaBiJpjK6
— B1ack Sword ???????? (@B1ackSword) June 4, 2018
only the NBN could complain that customers want too much of their product!
Are we going to throttle surgeons who use VR for training, architects who transmit building models, engineers who design in virtual reality?
are gamers seen as less than this?
— cadcow (@cadcow) June 4, 2018
As a gamer, as well as someone in the tech industry, this is definitely scapegoating. The issue is that the network cannot do what it was intended for. The NBN is a massive failure, and it will only get worse as the digital world moves ahead...leaving us in AU behind.
— Jess Dodson (@girlgerms) June 4, 2018
.@NBN_Australia are you aware that 1hour of YouTube uses more internet then 1 hour of online gaming?
These comments about onlinegamers are not based in fact and are very disappointing.
— queer space prince (@bugcatchermomo) June 4, 2018
An hour of online gaming typically uses less than 100MB. An hour of Netflix in HD uses about 3GB. Which do you think is using the most bandwidth in Australia? #NBN
— James Mugg (@JDMugg) June 4, 2018
So apparently NBN want to throttle certain people's internet rather than build a more stable network infrastructure. Because that makes perfect sense.https://t.co/Y7T0Z37j6X
— Nick Johnson (@Nick__Johnson) June 4, 2018
My NBN speed is around 22 mbps. I believe I'm supposed to be getting up to 100 mbps. What the hell has happened. WIFI drops out regularly. Oh for the ADSL days. NBN tried to tell me must be interference with the modem. Nah! https://t.co/axwJWDY69Y
— MyContribution (@yvonne_rieper) June 4, 2018