Will Australians soon be taxed extra to use Netflix? NBN proposes radical new changes to its service

Could Australians soon be forced to pay a ‘Netflix tax’? NBN proposes radical new service changes – and wants to SLOW DOWN your internet to charge you more

  • NBN Co wants to treat video streaming differently from other internet traffic
  • Australians could be forced to pay extra if the proposed changed go ahead
  • The proposal is currently before the NBN Co’s top 50 retail services providers
  • The former iiNet CTO said this will make Australia the laughing stock of the world
  • Aussie Netflix users are likely to be angered by the prospect of paying extra 

By Alana Mazzoni For Daily Mail Australia

Published: 23:58 EDT, 1 July 2019 | Updated: 00:06 EDT, 2 July 2019

Australian internet users could soon be taxed more to watch Netflix and other similar streaming services. 

The government-owned NBN Co has proposed treating streaming video differently to other traffic on its network, and wants the power to slow down the internet to extract more money from users. 

If their plan goes ahead, Australians could be forced to pay extra for the right to use such services, according to IT News. 

The proposal is now before NBN Co’s top 50 retail services providers – leaving many of their retailers in shock.

But Australian Netflix users are likely to be angered by the prospect of being slugged higher fees to access the popular streaming service. 

The National Broadband Network (NBN) could start charging Australian users more to watch Netflix and other streaming services

Streaming is included in current internet plans at no extra cost to households or users, which has been the case since Netflix launched in Australia in 2015. 

Retail service providers usually handle traffic prioritisation and shaping, with many retailers operating equipment that helps traffic between them and the NBN.

But now the NBN Co could take over this role and charge their retailers, raising questions over how much the company should know about the contents of what is running across its network.

Internet Australia chair Paul Brooks said NBN Co should not deliberately slow the speed of internet to rake in more profit. 

‘There is absolutely no justification for NBN Co to be artificially throttling traffic to extract more money for passing video traffic that should be carried as part of the fundamental base service of connectivity’.

Mr Brooks said that the NBN shouldn’t be looking into the ‘packets’ to see what content is being passed through their network.    

‘The radio network and the satellite network are shared, bandwidth-constrained access networks so there’s an argument for slowing down users for traffic smoothing, but not to extract further revenue,’ Mr Brooks said.  

Video streaming could be used as the guinea pig for treating different types of NBN traffic to make more money – which would mean customers would be charged accordingly to their specific usage 

Video streaming could be used as the guinea pig for treating different types of NBN traffic to make more money – which would mean customers would be charged accordingly to their specific usage. 

This has raised questions over whether the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would give the green light to this. 

If the proposal is successful, Aussies wanting to stream movies and TV shows could end up forking out more than just their monthly Netflix bill. 

Streaming service current prices 

Stan – $10 per month for basic package, and $14 for standard 

Netflix (Aus) – $9.99 per month for basic, $13.99 for high-definition streaming, and $17.99 for ‘best possible plan’ 

Hayu – $6.99 per month 

Amazon Prime (Aus) – $6.99 per month  

Mr Brooks said this would make Australia the laughing stock of the world.   

NBN is keeping their cards close to their chest and are refusing to comment on the matter.  

Retail service providers aren’t happy with the proposal to differentiate between what customers are accessing online. 

They believe they should be in charge if certain ‘packets’ are prioritised over others.   

An NBN Co spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia that the service has released an industry-wide review paper – looking for feedback on balancing industry economics with affordability and choice for customers. 

‘Video streaming is an important part of using broadband for many customers and a significant proportion of overall internet traffic and future traffic growth, and one of the particular areas where we are seeking feedback.’

‘The focus of the paper is not about levying additional charges on customers, but rather to engage with RSPs and the industry on how we can collectively deliver the best possible service to customers, including for video services,’ the statement read.

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