Australia's telecommunications industry body the Communications Alliance is asking broadband subscribers to consider ways to lower data traffic during peak hours to mitigate network overloading caused by an increasing number of people self-isolating and working from home.
Although many internet providers have increased or fully removed data caps on customers' monthly plans to help people working from home, Communications Alliance suggested that people generate less data traffic, and avoid downloading and uploading large files during peak times.
Peak times now include daytime hours, and CA said "it can make a big difference if you can plan ahead and download a movie or other large files between 9pm and 9am."
Furthermore, if customers have a choice of image quality, they should pick standard definition (SD) over 1080p high definition (HD) or 4K Ultra HD for streaming video, the industry body advised.
Earlier this month, telcopreneur Bevan Slattery urged video streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Disney to put the brakes on video quality to preserve precious bandwidth on Australia's residential connections for other users.
Slattery suggested that there would be no 4K video streams, with quality being limited to HD maximum, and ultimately dropping down to SD, as he feared that the capacity required by people working from home in large numbers would exceed what's available on the NBN, especially over shared hybrid fibre coaxial networks.
Audio and video group calls should be scheduled at start times 10, 20, 40 or 50 minutes past the hour to ease dial-in congestion.
To reduce data volumes for group calls and meetings, CA said users should consider recommending audio-only online conferences.
If it's difficult to place voice calls over mobile networks, CA said to try Wi-Fi calling if users have access to that option.
Should that not work and people still experience congestion and other issues, they should consider waiting and try again later if their calls are not urgent, CA suggested.
CA pleaded with broadband customers to try to be patient as telcos and their staff are doing their best in difficult times.
Another problem that the COVID-19 pandemic has created is disruption of call centres outsourced offshore, to provide IT, customer and technical support for Australian service providers, CA said.
This is occasionally causing headaches when customers move their service form one provider to another.
CA said the migration disruption is being addressed by the industry as a matter of the highest priority.