NBN Kicks Off Trial to Limit Fixed Wireless Users’ Speeds

NBN Kicks Off Trial to Limit Fixed Wireless Users’ Speeds

From today, NBN Co will be trialling a new ‘Fixed Wireless Fair Use’ policy, it’s something the company said aims to ensure fair access to its network.

A spokesperson for the company responsible for rolling out the National Broadband Network told Gizmodo Australia that in addition to aiming to help ensure fair access to services over the NBN network, its Fixed Wireless policy will also provide access to a “great online experience, especially during peak-usage times”.

The NBN fair use policy will be trialled in two areas of Sydney and Melbourne, for two weeks, from today, Monday 5 December 2022.

As you can tell from the name, the usage caps will apply to only Fixed Wireless users. It will also only apply to users considered ‘heavy users’.

NBN Co said this is going ahead because usage of the NBN Fixed Wireless network has been steadily increasing in recent years and that a small number of customers’ usage is disproportionately larger than others to the extent that their usage is materially impacting the performance for other users.

“The framework for managing the Fixed Wireless Fair Use Policy will not put a cap on data allocation and only applies to a defined set of Intensive Application Types for identified Heavy Users during a busy period,” the NBN Co spokesperson explained.

“These application types tend to consume consistently large volumes of network capacity resources over extended durations, often consuming the maximum available resources that the wireless network scheduler algorithm will serve to applications and thus have the effect of reducing capacity available for other users.”

A heavy user is an individual customer that has exceeded 400GB download in a calendar month. Raising concern, of course, is that if you were a heavy user in November, you’ll be considered as one for December.

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In an email sent to Fixed Wireless customers of Aussie Broadband, sighted by Gizmodo Australia, it is explained that if you are deemed a heavy user in the download category, your service will be limited to 14Mbps for video streaming, 5Mbps for gaming downloads/updates, 3Mbps for software downloads/updates and 1Mbps for P2P file sharing.

If you are deemed a heavy user in the upload category, your service will be limited to 1Mbps for P2P file sharing.

Other download/uplink traffic remains unshaped.

Gizmodo Australia reached out to Telstra for comment on their Fixed Wireless changes, but was directed back to NBN Co instead.

NBN Co has been concerned over Fixed Wireless congestion for many years. NBN Co even flagged its intention to cap the use of heavy users back in October 2020 as a possible solution, heading out to consultation with its idea.

Per NBN Co’s Fixed Wireless policy page, there are more than 600,000 premises within the NBN Co fixed wireless network footprint and over 57 per cent of those premises have an active NBN Co fixed wireless service.

“While these changes may not seem ideal at first, these changes will improve everyone’s experience on the Fixed Wireless network,” Aussie Broadband said in its email.

“Customers should contact their Retail Service Providers to find out if they are a Heavy User,” NBN Co added.

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