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Got the NBN? You might have to start paying a ‘Netflix tax’

Will you need to pay more for Netflix if you're with the NBN? (Source: Getty)
Will you need to pay more for Netflix if you're with the NBN? (Source: Getty)

If you’re with the NBN, you’re likely enjoying faster download speeds, but it’s not all good news.

Soon, you might have to fork out more money if you want to keep watching your favourite shows on Netflix, according to iT News and first reported in CommsDay.

In NBN’s recently launched wholesale pricing review, which consults with more than 50 retail service providers on pricing options, the government-owned corporation asked: “Would your organisation support the development of a price response whereby charging of streaming video could be differentiated from the charging of other traffic/services?”

“Would your organisation be likely to productise such a mechanism if developed by NBN?”

Should we be worried?

It’s a suggestion that’s alarmed service providers and industry insiders, iT news said, and raises concerns about how much NBN should know about the content that runs through the network.

“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,” Internet Australia chair Paul Brooks told iT News.

The NBN has no leg to stand on in wanting to slow down users’ traffic for the purposes of extracting revenue, he indicated.

“We are engaging with the industry in a confidential consultation process and will not be commenting,” an NBN Co spokesperson told iT News.

The wholesale pricing review consultation has not been made public, something that Brooks disagrees with, in something that Telstra and Optus has previously criticised them for.

‘Not about levying additional charges on customers’: NBN Co responds

In a statement to Yahoo Finance, NBN Co general manager of commercial, Ken Walliss, said the consultation process sought “constructive dialogue” with retail service providers about challenges and opportunities they face.

“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,” Walliss said.

“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.”

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