back to article nbn™ ponders a gamers' gate to throttle heavy wireless users

Gamers are the enemy of fixed wireless connections on Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN). Bill Morrow, the outgoing CEO of nbn™, the company building and operating the NBN, yesterday told the Joint Standing Committee on the NBN yesterday that the company is considering download throttling during peak times as a way …

  1. Denarius Silver badge


    In Oz the goldrush mentality continues to infect the PHB class, whether private or government. So the CBDs continue to get oversupply and elsewhere crumbs. It seems Ozs mediocre pollies for communications still think that Morse code is high tech from their bandwidth bleatings. The labels ElReg has used for these incompetents says it all. As for fixed radio versus satellite needs according to NBN, why do residences a mere 80 Km from Oz capital need to use satellite comms ? There are mountains and high hills that have line of site even into the deeper valleys. Some of these have line of site to telco towers or shock, horror, are close to existing fiber cables.

  2. Mike Lewis

    What about video streaming?

    I would have said that video streaming uses more data than gaming. If he thinks it's bad now, wait until 4K takes off.

  3. TReko

    Bandwidth vs latency

    Morrow doesn't understand gamers don't use the bandwidth, video streaming does.

    Gamers typically want low latency connections.

    That the head of the nbn doesn't get this despite a $3.5 million a year salary is worrying.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Bandwidth vs latency

      >Morrow doesn't understand gamers don't use the bandwidth, video streaming does.

      Unless the Steam sale is on...

  4. The Central Scrutinizer

    You folks do realise that NBN stands for Not a Broadband Network, don't you?

  5. the Jim bloke

    How about some facts ?

    Shirley the figurehead of the NBN would have some actual numbers to wave around, to prove he isnt a completely useless ignorant money sink?

    I am aware that I personally know very little about networking and multiplayer coding, but I do believe there is a fair bit of work to keep the data at a minimum. The e-sports spectator TV mode may be shifting imagery rather than code, but even that would be trivial amounts compared to HD TV.

    The obvious consumers of bandwidth are the video streamers, but for a political appointee to cast aspersions at mainstream public is completely taboo. Far more acceptable to blame some non-trendy minority.

  6. Magani


    Colour me ill-advised here, but why is the nbn™ worried about what end users do? I have been told that nbn™ doesn't talk to end users; isn't that the job of the telcos providing the service (Optus, V/phone, etc)

  7. Andy Mac

    So let me get this straight

    He’s saying the network they’ve built is not capable of dealing with today’s demand, let alone the next 10-20 years?


    1. mathew42

      LNP have cut NBNCo revenue from CVC

      Labor's intention was for NBNCo revenue growth to come from CVC data usage income. This was wise, because as streaming moved from HD, to FHD to 4K and beyond users would naturally consume more without a change in behaviour.Users would choose a larger quota and NBNCo would receive additional revenue to upgrade the network.

      RSPs wanted to sell unlimited plans and purchased insufficient CVC to meet the requirements. The LNP were smarter than most give them credit for and responded by reducing CVC pricing from $20/Mbps to $8/Mbps and then bundling CVC with AVC, while using the ACCC to crack down on RSPs with congestion.RSPs are reluctant to sell faster speeds because the small number willing to pay for 100Mbps and faster will be more demanding and more likely to monitor the performance of their connections.

      The impact of this is that:

      - NBNCo cannot drop the connection (AVC) pricing because CVC revenue has been cut

      - NBNCo doesn't have the budget to increase network capacity in response to customer demand

      - Demand for higher speeds not supported by FTTN is suppressed

      Possibly the only solution is for a program similar to Technology Change for wireless, where customers can contribute to the cost.

    2. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: So let me get this straight

      Did they build much, or did they just buy and try to integrate?

      They should have gone with gigabit fibre and sold data volumes.

  8. Tannin

    Nice to see that El Reg actually reported the facts here. Contrast this with the illiterate mainstream media which is just saying "the NBN" and not really bothering to mention (if they even understand) the difference between the fixed wireless periphery (basically 20-acre block country) and the NBN proper (suburbia).

  9. Andy Denton

    However, Morrow said he believed a “fair use” policy to cap the heaviest users would predominantly *AFFECT* gamers who demanded a “steady streaming process”

    1. mathew42

      Clearly heavy downloaders are causing the congestion issues.

      Labor had a very simple solution: usage based pricing, because it incentivises NBNCo to run a congestion free network to grow CVC revenue.

  10. Giovani Tapini

    And I thought most games

    were relatively low bandwidth affairs requiring low latency. Certainly my experience of most online games is consistent with this.

    Agree with above video streaming (web cams or otherwise), tor nodes, DDOS sources, or spammers are far more likely candidates.

    I too would be interested to know what legitimate personal activities could persistently use that sort of utilisation though.

  11. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Good to see an infrastructure network that has only recently launched that is already not able to cope with demand from end users.

    Most video streaming services offer HD streams with 4K only going to get more popular as people get TVs capable of displaying it which will put even more demand on bandwidth, especially in households with multiple devices online simultaneously.

    Did they believe video streaming was just a passing fad and we would all just go back to using the internet for sending emails and browsing text only websites like it were 1999?

    1. mathew42

      No. The Labor NBNCo Corporate Plan clearly documented that data (CVC) growth would be the primary source of revenue growth enabling access charges (AVC) to be cut. This revenue growth was supposed to pay for network upgrades (extra wireless transmitters, GPON2.5 to GPON10, faster routers & switches, etc.). LNP chose to cut CVC ($20/Mbps down to $8 and then started bundling) so NBNCo receive significantly less revenue from data growth.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge

    Don't mention the crap network

    Blame the users.

    What a crock.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Wanking load of #$%@^$&()(_*()+_!!!!!!

    So I'm trying to download an .iso via the internet and my download is F#*ked, by pausing repeatedly so the server cancels it, and I have to retry mostly unsuccessfully to continue or re-download it again running up more usage costs!!!!! also costing me more time (my time is also money) while people let their routers run day and night that suck in heaps more, netflix, endless_streaming_radio_they_could_listen_to_over_real_radio_anyway_____!_!_!

    Well there are many products that include OEM (fit for purpose) software downloads one needs to get sometimes beyond 4.5gb [Microsoft Windows start disk for (Win8.1)] Windows 10 download upgrade.

    Then there's Windows updates, creators packs and the like, they are often 380mb+++.

    My general browsing blew out from 500mb a month to 1500mb from the same sites as a result of javascript .js and advertising, and using video instead of writing the story etc, etc, etc.

    Just ars#wip*s not wanting to provide a service, rather than making it possible.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Wanking load of #$%@^$&()(_*()+_!!!!!!

      You seem upset and a little selfish. Your need for an ISO is no greater than someone else's need for Netflix or listening to the radio.

      I can't get the Las Vegas police radio live on the FM receiver in my car (which is my only radio) and they don't record it and ship it on CDs over the internet. Which is an option likely available to you.

      Maybe you should use a different server and/or software that automatically retries, leave it running while you had your dinner and stop worrying so much about everybody using bandwidth they've paid for.

      1. mathew42

        Re: Wanking load of #$%@^$&()(_*()+_!!!!!!

        > stop worrying so much about everybody using bandwidth they've paid for

        The problem is that those downloading significantly more haven't paid for the bandwidth they are using. RSPs have chosen to sell unlimited data plans and under provision CVC (1-2Mbps per user).

        Having said that streaming radio should be under 256Kbps which would work on ADSL1. A better example would be the streaming of a rocket launch in real-time.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wireless is cheap you idiots

    I used to install it in the burbs ocean of houses one tower

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