NBN Co prepares for 2TB monthly quotas

Monthly quotas under the National Broadband Network (NBN) could average two terabytes per month in the foreseeable future, according to the company charged with rolling out the fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network.

NBN Co chief executive, Mike Quigley, told a lunch held by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) that the company had engineered the network to handle an environment where such monthly quotas were the norm in areas served by FTTH technology.

Those served by fixed wireless broadband under the NBN could see download quotas averaging 100 gigabytes (GB) per month, while the remaining three per cent of 200,000 premises under satellite could potentially download an average 60GB per month.

Quigley compared the data quotas and speeds of NBN technologies to current Internet access methods such as ADSL2+, 3G mobile broadband and Australian Broadband Guarantee satellite services. His graph (pictured above), showed average ADSL download quotas are currently a tenth of those possible under the NBN, while satellite users would effectively see an improvement of 20 times their usual quota.

However, Quigley affirmed that NBN Co would not support mobile devices over the wireless portion of the network, eliminating direct comparisons between fixed wireless and future mobile broadband technologies.

Residential ADSL2+ monthly data quotas cap out at 500GB on plans from TPG, currently exceeding the highest 300GB plan offered by iPrimus in the first Tasmanian NBN trial sites, albeit at a slower speed.

Though Quigley is usually reluctant to talk much about end-user plans and offers, he told the AIIA conference that company had changed its tack on talking about the network.

“We realised we needed to be talking in the language people understand,” he said. “What they think of is speeds at megabits per second and downloads in gigabytes per month.”

NBN Co also announced this week that it would be providing 1 gigabit per second (Gbps) peak downstream speeds on top of the 100 megabits per second (Mbps) already promised by the Government for the NBN over fibre. The new commitment will also see upstream speeds increased to a potential 400Mbps.

However, the new speeds are a peak rather than commitment. They also require users to be on a relatively undersaturated network due to the technical aspects of the Alcatel-Lucent gigabit passive optical network (GPON) technology, which share 2.5Gbps down and 1.25Gbps up speeds to a maximum 32 houses in a given area.

Quigley told media at the lunch that it would be a few years before NBN Co upgrades the GPON technology to the superior 10Gbps or WDM GPON splitters.

Fixed wireless and satellite users will still receive committed speeds of 12Mbps, though wireless users get slightly higher upload speeds at 4Mbps compared to satellite’s average of 1Mbps.


Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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