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NBN extends CVC holiday until September 19, claiming AU$80 million in relief so far

That's one way to avoid predictions of a data and speed crunch in mid-August.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

The National Broadband Network (NBN) has once again extended its 40% capacity boost at no charge for retailers, this time pushing it out to September 19.

The company responsible for deploying the NBN across Australia this time said the offer would be withdrawn after the new extension ends. Satellite users will recieve their 45GB boost until September 30.

"The additional capacity offers have resulted in NBN Co providing almost AU$80 million so far in financial relief credit to participating internet retailers to help support increased levels of data use during COVID-19," the NBN said.

NBN has faced criticism for wanting to return to regular pricing once the CVC holiday passed, with Aussie Broadband managing director Phil Britt saying earlier this month that traffic patterns of Australians have changed.

"NBN's extra 40% CVC bandwidth to cope with peak demand during COVID certainly cushioned the impact, but once it's gone, we don't believe traffic levels will return to original forecasts," Britt said at the time. "Given that telcos pay overage for CVC usage above the amount bundled into their NBN wholesale products, this puts them in a difficult situation.

"They will either need to raise retail prices to keep the service levels the same in peak time speeds, or lower peak time speeds to maintain at least some level of margin -- which is almost non-existent as is."

Britt has called for NBN to bin the CVC capacity charge since the bandwidth consumed is now outstripping bundled predictions when NBN changed its pricing last year.

NBN has said its latest extension would give retailers time to "adjust to national growth in data demand and provision their capacity accordingly".

"This is the right thing to do," NBN chief customer officer Brad Whitcomb said.

"It is also important to recognise that the underlying annual growth in data demand has maintained a consistent trajectory, and it is this sustained growth, aside from any COVID-19 related impact, that requires a long-term, well-considered, industry-wide response."

The company said last week that it had seen a new downstream throughput peak, recording 14.8Tbps on Saturday July 11.

"The record peak that occurred last Saturday night coincided with 89 per cent concurrent usage across NBN-connected homes in Melbourne," Whitcomb said.

Previous traffic peaks have coincided with updates to the game Call of Duty.

Peak upstream throughput is still just below the 1Tbps mark.

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