It’s no surprise Australians are using home internet more than ever with many working from home or being restricted to the home in light of the coronavirus outbreak. The figures released by NBN highlight just how our lives have changed since February 2020.
The NBN Co has released figures highlighting just how big the working from home surge has been with offpeak usage significantly up since February 28.
If you cast your mind back to February 28, which feels like three centuries ago, it was a very different time. The coronavirus outbreak had not yet been declared a pandemic, Australian venues were still open and the national tally sat at below 30. Little did we know that only a few short weeks later, many of us would lose jobs or be forced to work from home as the government’s response ramped up.
According to the NBN Co’s figures, peak network usage during a then-typical offpeak time of around midday — called ‘business hours’ — sat at 4.2Tbps. A month later, as federal movement restrictions pushed many to work and bunker in at home, that usage rose to 7.2Tbps, or a 73 per cent increase in traffic.
Evening speeds are split into two categories — ‘early evening’ between 5pm to 7:59pm and ‘evening busy hours’ between 8pm to 11:59pm. From the week starting on February 24 to the week starting on March 23, early evening usage rose by 30 per cent to nearly 13Tbps while evening busy hours increased by 25 per cent to nearly 14Tbps.
While it’s something some Australians had noticed with faltering speeds and connections, it’s an important insight to see how the network is coping with the unexpected load.
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On March 19, six days after the first major restrictions were put in place by the Morrison Government, NBN Co announced it would be offering telcos with up to 40 per cent more Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) free of charge from March 23.
CVC is often described as a pipe where data passes through from an internet provider to their customers. The more pipe a provider purchases from the NBN Co, the more people that can use the data that flows through it at the same time to get those speeds.
So with telcos now being able to access more CVC without being charged by the NBN, customers are more likely to receive the promised internet speeds without the cost being passed on to them. This reprieve from the NBN is only temporary, however, and is expected to last at least three months.
Aussie Broadband revealed on April 3 it had experienced a 25 per cent surge in evening peak usage compared to the projected increase of 2 per cent in regular times.
“During the first two weeks of March, there was a 10 per cent increase in peak usage traffic. Interestingly, day time usage remained consistent between these two weeks,” Aussie Broadband’s Managing Director Phillip Britt said in a media release.
“We do expect evening peaks to increase further, possibly up to 40 per cent going on international data. Given we already have a customer base skewed towards heavy streaming, we believe we’re reasonably well set-up to deal with increased evening load, and we’ve implemented the extra CVC (connectivity virtual circuit) provided by NBN in preparation.”
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