NBN boss says ‘super-user’ online gamers are hogging broadband data

Online gamers could be targeted in a fair use policy to help improve internet speeds. Source: Getty

NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow has blamed users who spend long periods playing online games for potentially slowing download speeds on the network.

The speed of the fixed wireless network has caused much frustration since its rollout, with many users complaining the service isn’t as fast as promised. And although improvements are being made, it seems there are still some hurdles to overcome, with ABC reporting on Monday that the NBN Co is considering targeting certain users who spend too much time consuming too much data at busy periods.

Speaking at a parliamentary hearing in Sydney, the ABC said that Morrow highlighted online gamers as the potential cause of the slow internet speeds. 

“While people are gaming, it’s a high bandwidth requirement that is a steady streaming process,” he said. “This is where you can do things, to where you can traffic shape – where you can say, ‘no, no, no, we can only offer you service when you’re not impacting somebody else’.”

Although not labelling gamers a “problem”, Morrow said there were certain people who could be targeted by a fair-use policy. “I said there were super-users out there consuming terabytes of data and the question is should we actually groom those down? It’s a consideration,” he said.

In a report released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission at the end of March, NBN broadband services from iiNet, Optus, Telstra and TPG were seen to be performing extremely well during the peak period of 7pm-11pm. It was the first time the ACCC had analysed whether consumers were receiving the internet speed they had paid for under their supply agreement with the telecommunications companies.

“These first test results are better than expected, and indicate the majority of internet service providers are now delivering very close to their maximum plan speeds,” chairman Rod Sims said.

While plans were delivering between 80 per cent and just over 90 per cent of maximum speeds during this time, however, about five per cent of services tested were operating at under half of what they should be. But Sims said this wasn’t a big problem.

“The results for some types of services are still lower than we would like, but the overall results go against the current wisdom that the majority of consumers and businesses are having issues with NBN speeds,” he said at the time.

New data is set to be released later this year on whether the NBN and telecoms providers are continuing to life up to the promises made on internet speeds.

Do you think gamers should be targeted in a fair use policy? Have you experienced problems with NBN speeds?

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