- Media reports that NBN Co blames gamers for internet congestion.
- Public up in arms.
- NBN Co releases media statement clarifying its position.
Attending a recent parliamentary hearing in Sydney, NBN Co Chief Bill Morrow stated that "while people are gaming it is a high bandwidth requirement that is a steady streaming process". His comments, as reported by The Guardian and the ABC, categorized the gamer as a type of "extreme user". When later asked if he thought gamers were in responsible for the NBN's shortcomings, Mr. Morrow went on to say there were "I said there were super users out there consuming terabytes of data and the question is should we actually groom those down? It's a consideration."
This opened a floodgate of cynicism against the NBN, with media and public interpreting the statements as an condemnation of gamers. The furore especially escalated after people realised that the NBN's own website seemed to contradict Mr. Morrow's statements, with a page on gaming that cited: "Believe it or not, some of the biggest online games use very little data when you're playing compared to streaming HD video or even high-fidelity audio."
This has prompted NBN Co to take strides to clarify its position on gamers. They have recently put out a media statement that fact checks their position on gamers and clears up the comments made at parliamentary hearing, which they maintain have been grossly distorted.
"Mr Morrow said there were many causes of congestion including higher-than-expected take-up of the fixed wireless service and increased data consumption, but the main cause is concurrency. This is where multiple users are on the network at the same time, usually streaming video. Mr Morrow was then asked if a Fair Use Policy (FUP) would be introduced on Fixed Wireless. Mr Morrow said that to prevent the heavy users from impacting the majority, their usage could potentially be shaped in the busy period and they could download as much as they want at other times. He was asked who these users were that might be affected and he responded 'it’s gamers predominantly'. So, Mr Morrow has said that gamers could be affected by a fair use policy, if one was introduced. This is very different to saying that gamers are predominantly responsible for congestion across the fixed wireless network."
The media statement also transcribed Mr. Morrow parliament comments in their full context. After Stephen Jones, Member for Whitlam, put ut to Mr. Morrow that gamers were the problem when it came to congestion, Mr. Morrow denied this and cleared the air immediately, stating "I never said that, hold on, I never said that. I said there are “super users” out there consuming terabytes of data and the question is should we actually groom those down. It’s a consideration, so don’t put words in my mouth" - to which Mr. Jones replied "I am content with that clarification".