NBN Co may lift Sky Muster's fair use limit

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NBN Co may lift Sky Muster's fair use limit

Review underway.

NBN Co is “quietly confident” that it will be able to lift the average peak hour usage limit on its Sky Muster satellite service.

Chief customer officer John Simon told senate estimates last night that bringing the second Sky Muster satellite online in early May – and stabilisation of performance issues that have plagued the service in recent months – meant it could now consider a change to its fair use policy.

Retail service providers (RSPs) currently have to limit their customers’ peak hour usage to 30GB of downloads and 5GB of uploads in a rolling four-week period.

Simon said a review was currently underway into “spectral efficiency and all other aspects in terms of data distribution” over the Sky Muster service.

“As a result of that we’ll see whether we can actually expand those data allowances,” he said.

“Sky Muster II doubles the capacity of what was currently available but it’s needed to connect the expected take-up of around 60 percent of the 410,000 odd premises [in line to be serviced by the satellite service].

“What we’re reviewing is whether with that capacity and the current performance we can release more and upgrade the fair use policy.

“Without the second satellite, the fair use policy would have been a 20GB average cap; [having] it pushed that up to 30GB. We’re now reviewing the 30GB to see if we can make it broader.”

The 30GB download is an average across all of an RSP’s Sky Muster customers. Within that, it was possible for some customers to use more or less, as long as the RSP as a whole stayed under quota.

Across the entire installed base of Sky Muster customers, the average monthly usage is now approximately 23GB a month.

Simon said NBN Co planned to introduce business-grade services on Sky Muster sometime in calendar year 2018.

He also provided a brief update on the experimental in-flight wi-fi service underpinned by Sky Muster, which is being trialled by Qantas after some early hiccups.

“We expect the Qantas trial to finish around the third quarter of this calendar year,” Simon said.

“It uses very little data; on the average beam, under two percent [of available capacity, and] it peaks at very different times [to residential users].”

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