Piracy-free world to aid NBN business case?

Piracy-free world to aid NBN business case?

Summary: All the brouhaha over whether NBN Co's pricing structure might kill off 1TB plans made me wonder whether NBN Co might be relying on changes to copyright law reducing user downloads.


All the brouhaha over whether the National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co)'s pricing structure might kill off 1TB plans made me wonder whether NBN Co might be relying on changes to copyright law reducing user downloads.

Debate around NBN's pricing structure that charges $20 per 1Mbps of bandwidth has been heated, particularly on Whirlpool, where some have suggested that this could lead to the end of unlimited or 1TB download plans because retail service providers (RSPs) would not be able to afford its customers using that much bandwidth constantly.

When iiNet cancelled AAPT's unlimited downloads plan after it took over the company last year, CEO Michael Malone said that people on unlimited plans tended to be "leeches".

If customers were not downloading mass amounts of illegal material would they need such large download quotas?

I'm going to preface this by saying that I'm sure that there are many legitimate and legal uses for 1TB plans and I have no doubt that in the future, these sorts of plans will be commonplace with all the applications and streaming video and other content we will undoubtedly use on the NBN. However, I'd be pretty confident to wager that the average terabyte downloading customer today uses the majority of their quota on BitTorrent.

Yet all this might change. Despite iiNet's recent victory in the appeal of the copyright infringement case brought against it by the Australian Federation, one way or another, it looks like RSPs in Australia are eventually going to be forced to start cracking down on piracy in Australia. This may be through a future High Court ruling on the iiNet case, through RSPs developing their own industry code or through legislation introduced by the government.

Whichever of these scenarios occurs, it means that in the long run, Australia's biggest downloaders will be forced to curb their enthusiasm for piracy or risk paying the price.

So when people slowly move onto the NBN over the next ten years, if they aren't chewing through as many GBs in fear of being caught out by the cops, they'll likely initially opt for a download plan that is much lower than what we're seeing today, which will be cheaper for the RSPs to offer.

The sticking point will be if the content owners such as AFACT get with the game and find a way to offer their products to consumers to download online at a reasonable price and in a timely fashion. And I hope they do.

But then NBN Co's pricing model might be in a bit of trouble.

However, it might be a problem we don't really need to worry about right now. Looking at recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in the three months to 31 December 2010, Australians downloaded over 191 petabytes of data. While this represents an increase of 20 per cent on the prior three months, when you divide the figure by the 10.4 million internet subscribers, it only equates to roughly 18GB per customer in that three month period. That's roughly 6GB per month.

What this means is that the average Australian internet consumer probably doesn't care if 1TB plans will be affordable on the NBN. So, sorry to the unlucky few.

Topics: NBN, Broadband, Government AU, Piracy, Security, Telcos


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • NBN have committed to lowering pricing if their return exceeds the 7% target. If average revenue per customer exceeds about $33, then they will have to review their pricing model.

    What everyone seems to be forgetting in the debate over CVC pricing, is that if NBN Co is wrong, and AVERAGE data usage does go through the roof, NBN will have to lower its CVC pricing. So at worst, there may be a lag time of 6 months for prices to be lowered.

    So where's the problem? If NBN is right, then pricing is fine. If NBN is wrong, then CVC pricing will fall until they are back on budget.
  • Valid except how will you ever make NBN co wrong.
    If I have a 1 gig plan because that is all NBN allows me to afford for $33. (Family Budget)
    Currently have TPGI $29.95 Unlimited doing 1 TB.

    I will never reach 1 TB because I only have 1 gig limit. Seems like the 7% target is a double negative designed to try and make the community happy but something that can never be achieved.
  • Valid except... NOT everyone has the luxury you do...
    • What do you mean about luxury? If i'm correct, are you saying that the TPG plan is luxury? LOL... $60 bucks a month, $30 for the phone, $30 for unlimited speed and downloads is cheap, and it's not a luxury... I bet you spend more on you mobile phone bill or put more petrol in you car than $60 a month... These days having a mobile phone is a luxury considering all the crap most companies are offering... And the petrol $1.40 / litre, now if you have shops 2-3km down the road and only need to get 3-5 items... Walk there... It's FREE and you get some fitness out of it... And if you need more shopping, get Woolworths online which is cheaper than Coles online and just pay $5 for delivery... A lot cheaper these days then driving the car there and back and saves time too... You'll be suprise how much you save in fuel....
      • LOL indeed ... since you asked "what do you mean about luxury" tiger (even though rhetorically asked) I will, none-the-less, spell out this context of the word "luxury" just for you...

        And thank you, I guess, for the strange petrol and grocery update...!

        It's a luxury because some people are unable to receive such an affordable plan - I.e. "phone" and "unlimited speeds(?) /downloads, for $60 "bucks a month"...

        For some people (BTW - not me) it will cost them 2 or 3x as much, "IF" it is even available to them... making such a plan, for those people a (l*x**y) - see if you can fill in the blanks, I got you started!
        • TPG's plan is avialable to like 60-70% of Australians, if they don't use ULL/LLS then they go through Telstra wholesale

          You should probably check their network map instead of sprouting **** http://www.tpg.com.au/about/networks.php

          TPG has the most amount of installed DSLAMS after Telstra/Optus
          • So you agree with me... because up to 40% cannot receive the plan we were speaking of! Gee that's actually more than I thought.

            Lucky the NBN is coming eh, dat ego...?

            Anyhoo, instead of you sprouting **** about your beloved TPG, why don't you tell us again about those FUDged figures of yours, you disgracefully posted and tell us all again how the Senate forms government...LOL
          • Actually that figure is probably very old, checking the geography of the map I provided it would be closer to 80-90% now, ever since TPG started offering services on Telstra wholesale
          • Thank you for admitting you LIED before then... or are you lying now...?

            Anyhoo... so I reiterate exactly what I said, for all the dummy (yes singular) - "some people" are unable to receive such an affordable plan!

            So whether it be 30-40% or 10-20% (which was the lie again, dat ego?)... some people are not able to receive such a plan, are they FUDster?


            And still stunned silence on those other LIES...LOL
          • No it just means that we don't live in a socialist country where everyone can get everything that they want in every square inch of Australia

            People in such areas probably have to worry about a lot more then not just getting TPG for internet (i.e. types of food, water and electricity).
  • On the other subject of the cops, afact and rsps.... Fair enough, torrent leechers get busted... All everyone has to do is use programs like usenext, binverse and others like that, paying a monthly fee and still download what ever they want as the content is encrypted anyway... It seems they will only target public sites not the private trackers or server farms who have everything a leecher wants...
  • With service delivery from Foxtel via XBOX, Hulu looking to open up a delivery system in Aus, IPTV like Fetch etc, the need for high data allowance if anything are going to skyrocket in the NBN world.

    Once the regular joes know about it that is...

    My mate just renewed his Foxtel subscription for $110 a month so he could watch a few sports events, but primarily for his kids to watch childrens programing. After he found out about foxtel over XBOX he couldnt believe that he didnt just upgrade his 10gb plan to 200gb+ and save over $50 a month.

    The problem is most of the average joes with the technology in their house capable of better content delivery are just uneducated on how it can benefit them...

    The other thing is that there will be pretty much no phone charges to pay for on the NBN - no Line rental etc, just hook up your voip and on a plan like iinet's unlimited local and national calls why pay more?

    So data for IPTV and other content delivery systems + telpohony + other stuff that is yet to be offered, why on earth would ussage of plans like these dissapear? more like exponentially increase.
    • And that will cost you, the more you download the more the RSP incurs CVC charges.
  • Ah the CVC charges...!

    Run son, you have found something (so you think) so run with it (you can always revert to white elephant later) ... spread that FUD, Tony and Mal are proud of you...LOL!
  • To get a realistic side of the arguement, I live on the mid North Coast of NSW with Telstra and its resellers as the only provider. Best they can do is 1.2Mb download speed on a good day with 0.5 for the high for most of yesterday. All this for $50 per month with unlimited download (as if that means anything) Bring on the NBN !!!
  • Indeed cutsnake, exactly what I was alluding to...

    Sadly though... there are a few mouthy political puppets, who refuse to acknowledge that people such as you even exist and selfishly say things like what "we" have now, as they normally have cable (or ADSL2+... as do I) is good enough... and don't really care about anyone else...

    Interesting side note... my brother-in-law lives about 150m down the road (and about 150m closer to the exchange). I am currently on Telstra ADSL2+ and getting 55475kbps (just did the ZD speed test) and he is on basic Internode ADSL and getting over 6000...FFS???

    Bring on the NBN indeed...!
    • wow, i want to live where you are. 55,574kbp/s :O
  • Really? What... Do we really need more regulations here in Australia? NZ don't have this sort of rubbish with their net. Deregulate and lets get our net flowing. This is a joke. NBN pull your fingure out. Where is my 12Mb+ connection? In La La Land...
  • They are called Steam,Xbox Live, PSN and GoodOldGame.
    I download games from them frequently. I can blow 100's of GB every month without batting an eye. Add my housemates that also have similar LEGAL download requirements and your claims of 1TB accounts only being required by pirates looks, well compleatly nieve. Personaly I would love a 100Mbit+ connection. But I would NEED 500Gig+ of bandwidth. So if you could kindly do some research next time, it would be great.

    This article is full of rubbish as the guy who wrote it lives under a mis-informed rock.