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Aussie Broadband unveils NBN CVC graphs

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Aussie Broadband has made good on its promise to publish connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) graphs from all 121 points of interconnect on the National Broadband Network (NBN), on Monday unveiling a new website.

Calling it “an unprecedented level of transparency around its network management”, Aussie Broadband said it would allow consumers to check traffic levels on their local POI.

“Anyone with concerns about congestion in their area can immediately take a look at the traffic on their point of interconnect for the past 24 hours and see whether there were any issues with the Aussie network,” MD Phillip Britt said.

The average CVC per user across Aussie Broadband is now 1.95Mbps minimum, Britt said, above the December 1.53Mbps national average revealed by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last month.

According to Britt, one of the ways Aussie Broadband avoids congestion is by implementing stop-sells in regions where more backhaul capacity is needed, with the RSP in December similarly suggesting that NBN pause its fixed-wireless rollout in the same way it ceased sales on its hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network in order to repair congestion issues.

The POI website will now provide more information to any affected customers, Britt explained.

“This seems like the logical next step in providing customers with more information at their fingertips about what is happening behind the scenes with their internet,” he added.

“If they’re experiencing congestion and they can see there is none on their CVC graph, it can help narrow things down to perhaps a local Wi-Fi interference issue, or an NBN network issue.”

The website also includes ping times, network upgrade plans, and outage notifications, with users able to check which POI they are connected to.

The ACCC had in February revealed that service providers had again increased their CVC capacity by 38 percent in the quarter to December.

NBN contracted to supply 5,385Gbps of CVC capacity by the end of December, an increase from 3,452Gbps at the end of September. This followed NBN providing RSPs with a temporary credit for acquiring 50 percent more CVC, and pricing 50Mbps access virtual circuit (AVC) the same as 25Mbps.

“We are pleased to see such a large jump in the CVC acquired by retailers from NBN Co this quarter. With this level of CVC, consumers will have faster broadband speeds and hopefully less congestion during peak evening periods,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said in February.

“NBN Co’s response to retailers’ concerns about CVC pricing seems to have had an impact on the amount of CVC being acquired, which we believe will benefit consumers through better quality broadband.”

The increase in CVC capacity purchasing follows NBN in December unveiling its wholesale pricing changes following debate with industry, with the decision to provide discounts for retailers offering services on its 100Mbps and 50Mbps speed tiers.

Under the changes, NBN’s access and bandwidth charges will also be bundled together across CVC and AVC for the two top-tier plans.

The 50Mbps wholesale bundle will cost retail service providers AU$45 per month — a 27 percent discount — and include 2Mbps of bandwidth, while the 100Mbps wholesale bundle will be reduced by 10 percent to cost AU$65 for 2.5Mbps of included capacity.

According to NBN, the bandwidth being included amounts to “nearly double” the capacity that is currently being purchased by RSPs, with additional capacity available for AU$8 per megabit per second per month — a 40 percent reduction on its previous pricing.

NBN CEO Bill Morrow had in July 2017 criticised retailers for cutting corners by focusing on pricing rather than speeds or quality of service after he revealed that the average bit rate per user was around 1Mbps.

This followed RSPs including Vocus, Vodafone, MyRepublic, and Macquarie Telecom arguing that the only reason retailers are not offering gigabit speeds to consumers is NBN’s CVC pricing structure.

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