New figures from NBN Co show the most congested times on the network as Australians ramp up their data consumption.
NBN Co has released network insights that show the average NBN user increased their data consumption by 24.6 per cent compared with last year, using 258 gigabytes (GB) of data in June 2019.
In total, downloads have increased by a staggering 820 per cent since December 2012.
An NBN Co spokeswoman said Wednesdays and Sundays were the busiest days on the network, with usage generally peaking around 3pm after kids return home from school and then again after 8pm.
Australians also appear to be spending their holidays online with figures showing demand for data increased in January and April over the past two years.
Real time video streaming is dominating data consumption with web browsing a close second.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, said the NBN was supporting an explosion in subscription video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and Foxtel Now.
“Importantly, the ability of the network to support applications with high data requirements also enables services including distance education and telemedicine,” he said.
Earlier this year, NBN Co said it could not deliver the speeds promised to some customers in regional and remote areas, partly because the “Netflix effect” was causing unexpected congestion on the network.
In an effort to improve congestion during peak periods, NBN Co announced last week it would lower some of the wholesale costs it charged retail service providers like Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.
In total, Australians consumed more than 1.35 billion GB of data in June this year, the equivalent of watching David Attenborough’s Planet Earth more than 30.6 million times in high definition.
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, consumed the largest amount of data and had the greatest increase, jumping by 31.2 per cent.
On an individual level, Queenslanders were actually the most data hungry. Each user consumed 274GB of data in June 2019, which is much higher than the average NBN user.
The difference between the city and the bush is also narrowing, with the average monthly user in rural areas now consuming 246GB compared with 270GB in metro areas.
“Whether it is at home or at work, Australians are consuming more data than ever before,” NBN Co chief technology officer Ray Owen said.
“Access to fast broadband services is driving a change in the way we interact online, especially as connected devices, streaming services and flexible working arrangements become the norm.
“We expect these numbers to continue to grow as more and more homes and businesses connect to the network.”
Technology analyst firm Telsyte also pointed to Australia’s growing market for connected fridges and other devices dubbed the Internet of Things at Home, which is forecast to reach $5.3 billion by 2023.
Telsyte managing director Foad Fadaghi said more than half of the households in Australia already had one IoT product installed at the end of last year.
“NBN has emerged as the most important IoT at Home related feature when Australians move into a new home, which reflects how data and connectivity have taken a priority in our daily lives,” he said.
“Australia’s hunger for data continues to grow thanks to the increasing amount of modern technology in most Australian homes today – including smart home entertainment systems, subscription video on demand, broadcast video on demand, gaming consoles, computers and tablets.”
Almost 90 per cent of Australians are now able to connect to NBN high-speed broadband, with the company remaining on track to complete its build phase next year.
Following network completion, all Australian households and businesses will have access to broadband speeds of at least 25Mbps, and 90 per cent of fixed line households will be able to receive 50Mbps services.