At the height of the COVID-19 restrictions last year, NBN announced it would temporarily give extra bandwidth to resellers to meet customer demand at no extra cost … but like all good things, that temporary bonus has come to an end.

Last quarter (ending December 2020), NBN retailers acquired 2.3% less capacity than they had in the previous quarter, prompting a warning from ACCC chair Rod Sims that retailers still had to meet their customer’s expectations:

“NBN’s temporary COVID-19 CVC boost offer has expired, so it’s important that retail service providers provide sufficient CVC capacity for consumers to continue to receive the speeds they are paying for, particularly during periods of high demand,” ACCC chair Rod Sims

The warning comes after the 40% additional capacity for free came to an end, and retailers have – perhaps understandably – been reluctant to foot the bill for that full amount of increased bandwidth for their customers.

In the place of free CVC increases, NBN has offered retailers incentives to offer higher speed plans with more inclusions to their customers, but those customers who stay put will – relatively speaking – cost providers more than they did most of last year.

What happens when a retailer under-orders CVC capacity for their customers? With only so much bandwidth to go around, customers with that retailer will find their broadband speeds slower during peak times as customers hit the bandwidth limits. During the early morning (and most of the afternoon) it probably won’t be apparent, but the evening usage surge will show up RSPs that are skimping on extra bandwidth.

With 5.5 million NBN customers (or around 68%) on plans at 50mbps or above, there’s a lot of room for providers to get it wrong; fortunately, most don’t – we just need them to keep on top of it.

Just 16 per cent of NBN customers sign up for plans at 100mbps or above, but over 33% are stuck below 25mbps whether by choice or because their connections just can’t go any faster.

If you’re worried your provider might be going cheap on CVC capacity and you want a faster experience, check out the providers recommended by Ausdroid – not because we’re paid to recommend them, but because we use these services and think they’re good:

How’s your NBN experience been? Have you noticed a speed drop since the end of last year?