Skip to the article content

nbn responds to increase in residential data demand

16 March 2020

Offers advice for getting better internet performance at home 

NBN Co is responding to a shift in Australia’s internet usage patterns that will occur as more people choose to work, study, shop and stream more content at home as the nation responds to the impact of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus). During this period, digital connectivity will also be a primary channel for people to stay in touch with family and friends.

NBN Co’s team of data scientists and network engineers have been studying data consumption patterns in other countries that have been significantly impacted by the pandemic in recent weeks. At the same time, the company’s engineering teams have been planning for, and strengthening the network to help meet residential data demand that will likely surge, based on overseas examples, at different times of the day and night.

NBN Co is well-advanced with its contingency plans and will incrementally increase its data capacity allocation to retailers to accommodate the expected growth in residential data demand. It is requesting that retailers place their forward orders for CVC (capacity) in the normal way, and NBN Co will increase capacity as required to meet demand.

The national broadband network is dimensioned to exceed the nightly peak busy hour throughput requirements from our customers. NBN Co also routinely plans for days of exceptionally high traffic and is working with our European colleagues to understand the potential impacts of isolation events on broadband capacity.  

On Saturday 14 March, with many Australians spending more time at home, network traffic was up by more than 5 per cent on the previous Saturday. NBN Co will continue to monitor and augment the network as quickly as possible to meet potential demand surges. The nbn’s peak throughput is typically at around 9pm and, by comparison, during standard business hours of 9-5pm, network traffic is usually around half that of the evening peak.

The company is also planning to limit non-essential maintenance to minimise scheduled, planned outages in the weeks ahead to maintain network availability as much as possible.

nbn Chief Executive Officer Stephen Rue said:

“The nbn is part of Australia’s critical infrastructure, and the role of the network has never been more important than now and what we see unfolding over the weeks ahead. For many Australians, the nbn and other broadband and mobile networks will become the primary channel for work, study, entertainment, ordering food and maintaining contact with the outside world.  

“As a telecommunications industry, we will work together to keep Australians connected and productive through this crisis. These are unprecedented times and we are already seeing a steady increase in demand on the nbn, and this is set to continue. In terms of the expected requests for additional CVC capacity, we will work with the Industry to find the best solution. Clearly we all need to play our part.”

“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.

“We are in the fortunate position that more than 90% per cent of the national broadband network rollout has been delivered across the country, so the vast majority of Australians already have access to fast, reliable, secure broadband, which will serve them should they need or want to spend more time at home.”

nbn Chief Customer Officer – Residential Brad Whitcomb said:

“We are absolutely committed to supporting customers at this crucial time and we have built considerable strength and resilience into our network. We are ready to add additional capacity as required to produce the best possible customer experience.

“Most home internet plans are used primarily to download (web browsing, movies, music) and as such have great download speeds. But when it comes to working from home you may have a greater need for uploading large files or joining Skype calls, so speak with your internet retailer to make sure your plan has the upload speeds you need to work from home.” 

To ensure customers get the best in-home experience from the nbn, there are some important things to consider:

Top tips:

Get the right speed

1. Not all internet plans that you buy from your retailer are created equal. If your internet is slow it may be because you are on an entry level internet plan. Call your internet retailer and talk to them about the number of devices you have connected and how you are using the internet to find out if you have the right retail plan to support your needs.

Get the right plan

2. Most home internet plans are used primarily to download (web browsing, movies, music) and as such have great download speeds, but are not as strong when it comes to uploading. When it comes to working from home you may have a greater need for uploading files and joining Skype calls so speak with your internet retailer to make sure your plan has the upload speeds you need to work from home. 

Get optimum performance

3. Keep your modem in a central location in the home, ideally close to where you’re working from. If it is housed in a cupboard, under a desk, or at the other end of your house this will reduce the speed you receive.

4. Some routers may not deliver the best performance and speeds. If you are concerned about the age or quality of your router or modem, seek advice from your internet retailer on possible upgrade options.

5. If your internet is down, it could be your Virtual Private Network (VPN) settings that you use to access your corporate intranet and files. Check to see if Google or other websites are working. If they are, then you may need to consult with your organisation’s IT help desk for remote networking troubleshooting advice.

NBN Co will be providing regular updates on network performance and advice to customers at

Media enquiries

Greg Spears
Phone: +61 406 315 014

NBN Co Media Hotline
Phone: 02 9927 4200

Media resources

Media release in other languages