The NBN chief thinks 'throttling' gamers could fix congestion issues on Australia's broadband network

A Bad Gamer yesterday, eating up all the gigs. Photo: Guillame Souvant/AFP/Getty Images

NBN chief Bill Morrow has proposed throttling access to “extreme” fixed wireless users who are consuming more than the average user.

And by “extreme”, he means “gamers”.

Morrow made the call during a Parliamentary Committe hearing yesterday which was looking at options to ease congestion on the fixed wireless network.

Up to 240,000 Australian homes access the NBN through its fixed wireless network, which can potentially cover up to 600,000 homes.

“Our average consumption across the NBN network is just under 200 gigabytes per month, and when you look at…fixed wireless, it’s substantially less than that,” Morrow said.

“However…there’s a large portion that are using terabytes of data.”

“Now, one of the things that we’re evaluating (is) a form of fair use policy to say we would groom these extreme users.”

A similar fair use policy already applies to NBN satellite users, who are limited to a maximum of 75 gigabytes in any four-week period.

“Grooming” means heavy users would find their access limited back down to what the average user was using at times of peak congestion. Morrow said the extreme users would be free to access as much data as they wanted in off-peak times.

Then things went a little off the rail for the NBN Co chief.

Morrow told the committee the “extreme” users were predominantly gamers, but bizarrely, under questioning, later admitted that NBN Co doesn’t actually have access to data that could confirm whether those extreme users were actually gamers.

The ABC reports the Australian Communications and Media Authority found in 2016 that “increases in the amount of data transferred in Australia appeared to be driven by video content downloading”.

Recently, NBN Co cancelled plans to offer a 100 Mpbs plan on fixed wireless due to excessive cost after it underestimated the popularity of the service.

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