Viasat calls for NBN satellite data limits to be dumped

Begin planning for future capacity needs now, Viasat advocates

Credit: NBN

Viasat Australia says that households on NBN’s Sky Muster satellite service should not be subject to “hard data caps”.

Viasat provided a range of the ground-based hardware that underpins NBN’s satellite service.

NBN figures show that as of the end of December, there were 83,400 households connected via the Sky Muster service. More than 400,000 homes and businesses sit in the Sky Muster footprint.

Last year, NBN announced it would double the maximum data usage per household on the service from 150GB to 300GB, and increase the peak period limit from 75GB to 150GB.

However in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry, Viasat said that there was potential to increase the data available to households that rely on the service for broadband.

Viasat said that most US wireless and satellite operators no longer implement hard data caps “due to the customer experience”. Alternatives include “soft caps, video optimisation techniques, expanded free zones and unlimited non-video usage”.

“The traffic management techniques to create these plan options include usage metering, rate limiting, application awareness, device-type awareness, time of day policy modification, media compression, and zero-rating,” the submission argues.

However, those techniques require a managed Layer 3 network, Viasat says. As with other National Broadband Network access technologies, Sky Muster is delivered as a Layer 2 Ethernet bitstream service.

Long-term bandwidth

Viasat said it estimated that by 2025, data growth could exceed the capacity of NBN’s two Sky Muster satellites — assuming data limits did not constrain growth — and as a result planning for future capacity should be undertaken.

“By moving to Layer 3 network management, we estimate nbn can buy two additional years of offering service, but to launch a satellite in time to meet demand by 2022, planning for the follow-on capacity should begin immediately,” the company argued.

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Tags NBNnbn cosatelliteNational Broadband Network (NBN)ViaSatSky Muster

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