In March NBN Co announced it would provide 40 per cent extra CVC during the COVID-19 pandemic. This extra bandwidth was designed to help Internet Service Providers (ISPs) deal with the extra network loads as more people worked and studied from home. It has now extended this offering again.
This extra 40 per cent CVC was supposed to expire on August 19. Back in July NBN Co extended this deadline to September as the second wave of COVID-19 infections grew in Victoria in particular.
This deadline has now been blown way out to November 30.
“Following feedback from internet retailers, NBN Co will extend the 40 per cent additional capacity offer (where available, depending on access technology) at no additional cost to participating retailers (based on the February 2020 baseline) until 30 November for bundled discount plans,” NBN Co said in a press release.
This move isn’t entirely surprising. The second wave of cases across the country, particularly Victoria, had industry professionals speculating whether NBN Co would extend the offer.
“This is the right thing to do,” NBN Co’s Chief Customer Officer, Brad Whitcomb, said in a press release back in July.
“We trust the data capacity initiative will first and foremost support Australians’ heightened need for secure, high-speed access to broadband services at this critical time and, secondly, help give internet retailers the time and financial relief they need to adapt to their customers’ changing data demands.”
NBN Co reported that from July 13 to 19 downloads during the peak evening period rose by 34 per cent. This set a new record of 14.8 Terabits per seconds.
What is CVC?
CVC, or Connectivity Virtual Circuit, is what ISPs pay for to access a certain amount of bandwidth. The more they reserve, the better speeds they can provide their customers during peak periods.
NBN Co explains it in further detail here.
Is this enough?
While this is certainly good news for ISPs and customers, it is still a temporary boost. Some ISPs such as Aussie Broadband don’t believe that customer usage will ever return to what it was pre-COVID, even once the virus is under control.
As such, Aussie Broadband recently put up some of its NBN prices despite the continued extra 40 per cent free CVC.
“We need to raise the price of some of our plans because of increased costs associated with the data being used on those plans,” Britt said in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
“Part of this cost – but not all – is the NBN CVC charge. Even with NBN’s extra CVC COVID offer, we are either at cost or losing money on those plans.”
Both Aussie Broadband and Telstra believe the CVC structure needs to be abolished altogether.
“Even if NBN extends its COVID CVC offer, this is only a band-aid solution to a deeper problem,” Phillip Britt said in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
“We need to scrap CVC altogether and move to a single access charge based on the speed tier chosen, with no usage or CVC component. This is how other countries, such as New Zealand, operate. CVC is something that appears to be unique to the Australian market.”
“Given a lot of people will be continuing to work and study from home for the foreseeable future, we think it makes sense to extend the 40 per cent free allocation of CVCs for the locked down geographies for the time being,” a Telstra spokesperson said to Gizmodo Australia over email.
Only time will tell if NBN Co will need to extend the 40 per cent extra CVC offer yet again.
Fast NBN Plans
And if you’re looking for some speedy NBN plans while stuck at home, here are some of the fastest in Australia right now.