If you ask any Australian in the country how reliable and fast their internet is, their answer would most probably fall in the "shit" to "abysmal" range. And if you asked them online, expect to wait awhile.
This can partly be blamed on our internet overlords, NBN Co, as it rolls out an ambitious (yet antiquated) nationwide broadband product. Originally projected to be completed in 2016, the finish line has since been pushed back to 2020. While some have managed to reach the speeds NBN initially promised, many end users have struggled to get even remotely near them.
Signing up for a new NBN plan can feel a bit like a game of Russian roulette. There are so many factors that can affect the speed and quality of your connection, and no one wants to get stuck with a shitty service. While not all providers are equal, some are doing a bang-up job of delivering high quality NBN. Thanks to the ACCC’s “Measuring Broadband Australia” program – which relies on real world testing data from Australian households – we’ve got a better idea of who they are.
In case you thought it couldn't get any worse, today it was revealed that something terrible might be on the horizon. According to iTNews and CommsDay, NBN Co is now floating the idea of throttling video streaming speeds in order to prioritise non-video-streaming traffic.
That means, if you spend most of your internet on watching Netflix and Instagram stories, NBN Co could intentionally make your internet slower or force you to upgrade to a more expensive plan in order to continue streaming at the same speeds. Yeah, it sucks.
Many were concerned about what this could mean for the future of Australian internet:
NBN Co looking at charging consumers extra for streaming video to raise more revenue
Unfortunately we don't know the details, because the company is not releasing them
Why is a publicly funded company doing these consultations without taxpayer input?
— Charlotte Buckingham (@CC_Buckingham) July 2, 2019
This might not be shocking, but it is hugely worrying. NBN Co have no business inspecting the content flowing through their pipes. The rationale to do so already feels like justifying having built pipes that are unable to handle their expected future (and sometimes present) load.
— Tama Leaver (@tamaleaver) July 2, 2019
What choice? Everyone has to be on the NBN.
You're a monopoly which is now seeking to abuse that position.
You're a utility which has no business packet sniffing.
You're also a taxpayer funded entity, that is going about this with zero transparency.
— vozoto (@vozoto) July 2, 2019
Nope still sounds like #NetNeutrality, the future is going to be watching TV over the internet, just sounds like NBN Co are struggling to find a way to dig themselves out of the mess they have gotten themselves into.
— Sweets ???? (@Th3Mort) July 2, 2019
Rest of world: We're rolling out gigabit internet.
NBN Co: Let us charge to use streaming services. https://t.co/EHlLlLvZDW
— Nick (@djzeus) July 2, 2019
NBN Co did attempt to justify its position on Twitter, explaining it was looking at ways to deliver the "best possible service to customer."
NBN Co is seeking to balance industry economics with affordability and choice for customers. The pricing review paper is not about levying additional charges on customers but rather how we can collectively deliver the best possible service to customers, including for streaming.
— nbn™ Australia (@NBN_Australia) July 2, 2019
Let's just hope the consultation process extends beyond retail service providers so Australians can truly have their voices heard. From the internet's reaction, their voices would probably be saying something along the lines of "just focus on getting the damn thing running properly."