Opinion: What will we do with all that download quota when the NBN rolls down our street?

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Opinion: What will we do with all that download quota when the NBN rolls down our street?

Generous download plans have meant that maxing out quotas is almost a thing of the past. But has this got more to do with the limits of TV and movies holding back how much content is available via the web?

Generous download plans mean that maxing out quotas is almost a thing of the past for many people. But has this got more to do with the limits of how much TV and movies are legally available online?

With the NBN being rolled out across the country those in favour say it will bring big improvements for business and government in the form of e-health,smart electricity grids, remote learning and so on. But for the average web user they’ll need a lot more reasons for needing more and more GBs of data in the future under the NBN.

It turns out that even today users may not be making the most of their quotas. Download limits have increased substantially in recent years and we’ve moved quickly from single-digit GB plans to double- and triple-digit GB plans. Now some ISPs have goneeven further to offer terabyte (TB) plans.

But a new report by Market Clarity has found that only 15% of people go over their monthly quota and that large quotas give users a lot of room, but may not be fully utilised. So it begs the question of what we’ll do with the bigger data allowances that the NBN will bring.

From the household's point of view, it would seem that to make the most of the coming NBN without relying on BitTorrent, we would need to see asubstantial boost in the amount of unmetered content available online (though the speed advantages of the NBN are another matter).

We’re moving in the right direction with TV and movie offerings like the Sony PlayStation MUBI movie service, BigPond T-Box and iTunes. But not all SPs offers unmetered TV playback services like the ABC’s iView and most networks are still very cagey about making programs available through a catch-up service, despite the use of VCRs doing effectively the same thing for years.

More commitment to providing legal movies, TV and music and other content online would give users a TB of reasons to welcome the NBN and address the disparity between huge data allowances and the current amount of legally available internet entertainment that actually eats up monthly quota.

How much data do you use each month? Add your comment below. 

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