Has your NBN connection been less congested in the last year or so? Unfortunately I've got some bad news for you: At the end of October NBN Co will conclude a temporary promotional deal on extra bandwidth for retailers, and that's expected to bring back some of that dreaded congestion.
Before the NBN began its promotional pricing last December, the average congestion experienced by users was five hours a week, and in August this year was down to just one hour a week. However this is already more than double what it was in July, at 28 minutes a week, and that's an increase again on the all-time low of 12 minutes in February.
From now, however, we can expect it to get worse - or in the NBN's words, "we do expect these [congestion] levels to fluctuate as our promotional discount ends (31 October) and as we help service providers adopt our new wholesale discount bundles." That's going to be one spooky Halloween for NBN users.
The news, picked up by IT News, was hidden in an NBN blog post called "Wholesale bundles boosting speed uptake and customer experience" published today.
NBN stresses that the new changes "aren't things that affect consumers directly," but end users will feel the effects of congestion at least in the short term.
The contributing factor to congestion is retailers not provisioning enough bandwidth for their customers, which was a big problem before the NBN released its promotional pricing last year. While the NBN promises to work closely with retailers to minimise disruption during this transition, it's highly likely that this issue will emerge once again as the bonus bandwidth period ends.
Meanwhile the NBN is urging users to do their part to reduce congestion on the network, with the "how much speed do you need?" campaign. This initiative asks users to be aware of their internet usage in peak times between 7pm and 11pm, to make sure they're on the right speed plan for their usage, and to use the right home router/modem set up for connection quality.