Increased strain on the struggling NBN network forces some Australians to wait 24 HOURS to load Netflix shows as they socially isolate to avoid spreading coronavirus
- Posted by Kenverly De Guzman
- On March 26, 2020
- 0 Comments
Australia’s internet capacity is feeling the strain of the escalating coronavirus outbreak as the National Broadband Network struggles to cope with the overwhelming demand of those working from home.
Popular online streaming services Netflix and Stan were asked by the federal government last week to reduce data amounts for streaming videos as the number of Australians working remotely due to the coronavirus lockdown grows.
Netflix has since reduced its traffic by 25 per cent across its entire service for the next month by removing its highest bandwidth streams to ease internet capacity. Some subscribers are already feeling the effects where it’s taking up to 24 hours in regional areas to download shows.
Netflix has also reduced its traffic in other areas worldwide where it’s needed, including New Zealand, Europe, India, Israel, Argentina and Chile.
‘We are living through a global crisis, and we all have a responsibility to help where we can,’ Netflix vice-president of content delivery Ken Florance said in a statement earlier this week. ‘If you are particularly tuned into video quality, you may notice a very slight decrease in quality within each resolution. But you will still get the video quality you paid for,’
Among those frustrated with Australian’s crippled internet capacity is ABC News presenter Jeremy Fernandez. ‘Is anyone else experiencing incredibly bad home internet? I’m still (wilfully) on ADSL, which is better than my neighbour’s NBN – but we may soon need to resort to carrier pigeons,’ he tweeted on Thursday afternoon.
Mr Fernandez was inundated with comments.
‘I’m in a regional area. You have no idea… took 24 hours to load Netflix,’ one woman replied.
Last week, the NBN announced it was responding to the shift in Australia’s internet usage patterns in the wake of the pandemic. It plans to limit non-essential maintenance to minimise planned outages in the weeks ahead to maintain network availability. ‘These are unprecedented times and we are already seeing a steady increase in demand on the NBN, and this is set to continue,’ chief executive officer Stephen Rue said.
‘We are actively working with retailers and have the complete support of our government stakeholders to ensure we do everything possible to optimise the NBN to support the expected increase in residential use.’
This week, the NBN unveiled new measures to support increasing capacity and data demand for satellite services in regional and remote Australia.
IPSTAR Broadband is educating regional and rural customers on how to best use their internet when working from home so they can remain connected.
The internet provider has published several e-books and blog posts covering topics such as optimal internet performance and saving data when streaming videos.
‘It is more difficult for people in regional and rural locations to make this transition as they often have satellite internet plans with a limited monthly data allowance,’ managing Director, Shannon Fisher said.
A spokesman for Stan said it was working with the federal government on last week’s request.
‘Stan is engaged with the government and NBN Co to ensure that our content is delivered to consumers with the most efficient use of bandwidth while continuing to deliver the quality levels that are consistent with each of our plans,’ he told the Guardian.
A Foxtel spokesman added: ‘We are working with government and will make any changes necessary to support the national effort. That said, much of Foxtel’s broadcast service operates independent of the internet using satellite and customers with an HD subscription will be able to continue enjoying uninterrupted HD and Ultra HD broadcasts regardless of any decisions.’