Sky Muster boost during pandemic

NBN Co has unveiled new measures to support increasing capacity and data demand for the national broadband network (nbn) satellite services in regional Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Internet services to remote and regional have been boosted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff writer

Customers on standard nbn Sky Muster services will have their data download limits increased, while for customers on nbn Sky Muster Plus services, there are an increased range of applications that will not count towards monthly data quotas.

With standard nbn Sky Muster plans, all data is metered and customers have a set amount of data each month. Currently, nbn Sky Muster Plus plans provide unmetered data for a select range of essential online activities.

nbn is offering these new measures to support retail service providers (RSPs) in passing on these benefits to their customers.

Effective 31 March, for a limited period of up to three months, nbn will increase the download data limits that apply to RSPs for the standard nbn Sky Muster service, providing an additional 45GB for each standard nbn Sky Muster service at no additional cost to those RSPs.

This additional 45GB will allow RSPs, in some cases, to effectively double the average monthly download limits on retail plans offered to many of their customers.

For an RSP's standard nbn Sky Muster services, nbn is increasing average wholesale download limits to 90GB of data on average, depending on the services that the RSP has ordered from nbn.

This offer is an effort to support the anticipated higher volumes of traffic as people work from home and conduct schooling remotely.

Available from 1 April on an ongoing basis, enhancements for nbn Sky Muster Plus plans will include an expansion of unmetered content. Once these enhancements take effect, all traffic on nbn Sky Muster Plus plans will be unmetered, except for video streaming and traffic via a VPN, both of which will continue to be metered.

Unmetered activities currently include web browsing, email and operating system updates. However, as part of these further enhancements, common social media applications such as Skype and Facetime will also be unmetered.

In addition to this expansion of unmetered activities, nbn is also introducing a number of other enhancements to nbn Sky Muster Plus plans, including:

• a new 25GB+ entry plan offering 25GB of peak data and 25GB of off-peak data for video streaming and VPN traffic, which will improve accessibility for lighter users (available from 1 April);

• functionality to give RSPs greater flexibility to customise the data allowances on their retail plans in increments of 5GB (starting from 25GB of peak data and 25GB of off-peak data, up to 150GB of peak and 150GB of off-peak data) (available from 1 April); and

• a new ‘top-up' feature, which will provide RSPs with the option of offering of ‘top up' data, should their customers use their monthly metered data allowance (available in coming months).

NBN Co chief development officer, Rural and Regional, Gavin Williams, said: "Over the coming days and weeks, we are expecting a higher number of people in regional and remote communities across Australia to work from home and more children to be remotely school.

"In preparation for this greater demand for data and based on feedback from internet retailers and customers, we have decided to take this action to provide additional support for that expected increase in day-time usage expected to increase due to increased activity on the network.

"Our enhanced nbn Sky Muster Plus plans will help Australians be more in touch with loved ones, work remotely, use internet banking, and access important health and education services."