Australia’s NBN increases capacity to meet demands from home workers

NBN increases capacity
Sky Muster satellite. Image courtesy NBN Co

Australia’s NBN Co has unveiled new measures to support increasing capacity and data demand for nbn satellite services in regional and remote Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Customers on standard nbn™ Sky Muster™ services will have their data download limits increased significantly, while for customers on nbn Sky Muster Plus services, nbn will implement an increased range of applications that will not count towards monthly data quotas.

Both standard nbn Sky Muster and nbn Sky Muster Plus services provide access to fast and accessible broadband across regional and remote Australia. With standard nbn Sky Muster plans, all data is metered and customers have a set amount of data each month. Currently, nbn Sky Muster Plus plans provide unmetered data for a select range of essential online activities.

nbn is offering these new measures to support retail service providers (RSPs) in passing on these benefits to their customers.

nbn Sky Muster data download limits significantly increased

Effective from 31 March for a limited period of up to three months, nbn will increase the download data limits that apply to RSPs for the standard nbn Sky Muster service, providing an additional 45GB* for each standard nbn Sky Muster service at no additional cost to those RSPs.

This additional 45GB will allow RSPs, in some cases, to effectively double the average monthly download limits on retail plans offered to many of their customers.

For an RSP’s standard nbn Sky Muster services, nbn is increasing average wholesale download limits to 90GB* of data on average depending on the services that the RSP has ordered from nbn. This offer is an effort to support the anticipated higher volumes of traffic as people work from home and conduct schooling remotely.

Enhancements to nbn Sky Muster Plus

Available from 1 April on an ongoing basis, enhancements for nbn Sky Muster™ Plus plans will include an expansion of unmetered content. Once these enhancements take effect, all traffic on nbn Sky Muster Plus plans will be unmetered, except for video streaming and traffic via a VPN, both of which will continue to be metered.

Unmetered activities currently include web browsing, email and operating system updates. However, as part of these further enhancements, common social media applications such as Skype and Facetime will also be unmetered. These are just a few examples of where customers can now have additional peace of mind that staying in touch with family, friends and colleagues will not count as part of their monthly data allowance.**

In addition to this expansion of unmetered activities, nbn is also introducing a number of other enhancements to nbn Sky Muster Plus plans, including:

  • a new 25GB+ entry plan offering 25GB of peak data and 25GB of off-peak data for video streaming and VPN traffic, which will improve accessibility for lighter users (available from 1 April);
  • functionality to give RSPs greater flexibility to customise the data allowances on their retail plans in increments of 5GB (starting from 25GB of peak data and 25GB of off-peak data, up to 150GB of peak and 150GB of off-peak data) (available from 1 April); and
  • a new ‘top-up’ feature, which will provide RSPs with the option of offering of ‘top up’ data, should their customers use their monthly metered data allowance (available in coming months).

nbn has been working on these enhancements since the initial launch of nbn Sky Muster Plus in August 2019.

Today’s new measures follow nbn’s recent announcement of a capacity boost across the nbn network for three months, to help RSPs support customers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

nbn is anticipating increased demand on the nbn network as more people need to spend more time at home during the COVID-19 response. nbn is working with industry and to monitor demand and any further potential required measures.

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