Justification of NBN Co blaming "Gamers" for congestion issues

Joshua Michael made this Freedom of Information request to NBN Co Limited

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Joshua Michael

Dear NBN Co Limited,

I'm looking for all documents or data relating to the justification of "gamers predominantly" being a "major cause of congestion". I'm looking for data/numbers/graphs/etc. quantitatively proving or backing up this statement.

I'm also looking for all documents or data relating to justifying the statement "while people are gaming it is a high bandwidth requirement that is a steady streaming process".

All my quotes above come referenced from the following article.

Yours faithfully,

FOIOfficer, NBN Co Limited

Dear Joshua


Thank you for your request, seeking access to information under the
Freedom of Information Act 1982 (the FOI Act).


You have asked for, in reference to an ABC News article (article):

1.      all documents or data relating to justification of "gamers
predominantly" being a "major cause of congestion", and

2.      all documents or data relating to justifying the statement "while
people are gaming it is a high bandwidth requirement that is a steady
streaming process".

As a starting point, please see this nbn Media Statement, which deals with
some of the matters referenced in the article:
If this statement answers your queries, please let us know.

Request to Clarify

Under the FOI Act, members of the public have a general right of access to
specific documents, subject to certain exemptions. Under section 15(2) of
the FOI Act, a valid FOI request must provide such information concerning
the requested document/s as is reasonably necessary to enable nbn to
identify it/them, among other matters.


For the reasons outlined below, we are of the view that your request is
either not sufficiently clear, or you have not provided nbn with
sufficient information so as to be able to identify relevant document(s)
for the purposes of the FOI Act.  Please note that, until your request is
sufficiently clarified, the statutory time frame for completing this
request will not commence.


·        In relation to your 1st question – It is unclear what you mean by
justification for "gamers predominantly" being a "major cause of
congestion". While these terms are used in the sub heading of the article,
the text of the article does not contain this as a statement or indicate
that this was a statement made by an nbn representative. We also refer you
to some of the specific text from the Media Statement referenced above
(which refers to statements recorded in the Hansard transcript for the
Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network on 4 June
2018), relevant to the article referenced in your application:

The claim that Mr Morrow blamed “gamers predominantly” for the Fixed
Wireless congestion is not correct.

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…

Mr Morrow was then asked if a Fair Use Policy (FUP) would be introduced on
Fixed Wireless… [and] …who these users were that might be affected and he
responded “it’s gamers predominantly”.

The Member for Whitlam, Stephen Jones, put it to Mr Morrow directly that
he had said gamers were the problem when it came to congestion, and Mr
Morrow categorically and emphatically denied that as demonstrated in this

Stephen Jones: With great respect to everything you said over the last 15
minutes, you have been saying to us the problem here is gamers.

Bill Morrow: 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.

Stephen Jones: I am content with that clarification.

Accordingly, it is unclear what data or documents you are seeking or
referring to. Would you please clarify specifically what documents nbn may
hold that you seek?

·        In relation to your 2nd question – It is unclear what you mean by
‘all documents or data relating to justifying the statement "while people
are gaming it is a high bandwidth requirement that is a steady streaming
process"’. Is there a specific document/s or data that you are seeking? If
it would be helpful, we would be happy to work with you to clarify
specifically what you are seeking on this point, either via email or over
the phone (we can provide a contact number on request).

nbn’s Commercial Activities carve-out

Documents that relate to nbn’s “commercial activities” are not subject to
the operation of the FOI Act. The following link summarises and provides
[2]general background information concerning nbn’s commercial activities
carve-out (CAC). That background document references two Office of the
Australian Information Commissioner reviews that considered nbn’s CAC in
January 2012 (the [3]Internode Decision) and again in July 2013 (the
[4]Battersby Decision). While we are not making a formal decision, nor
have we reviewed any relevant documents, there is a possibility that
documents falling within this FOI request may be subject to the CAC.


Please let us know if you have any questions.



nbn FOI Officer



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Dear FOI Officer,

Thank you for your time in preparing this response. From reading your linked press release I can see it's clear the ABC has simply done a very disappointing job at reporting the situation. Thank you for clearing up the confusion, and your time.


Yours sincerely,
Joshua Michael

Jonathon Davidson left an annotation ()

Joshua, they've sidelined you. Replying to an FOI application with a media release is hugely evasive. You want to push back and ask for documents. Also, if you paid $30, and they did not waive that, I would be asking for more info.

—Smoko Henderson

Joshua Michael left an annotation ()


I'm open to understanding what you mean by sidelined, because I feel like my request was completed.

It seems quiet simply like it was a misquoting/misunderstanding of NBN Co on the ABC's part. NBN Co's press release has cleared that up.

What more do you suggest I should have asked for?

I haven't paid any money or continued it further.

If I want to be unhappy about anything, it'd be about the poor reporting that went into the ABC article, wouldn't it?


KevinLionhelm left an annotation ()

Actually no ABC is not wrong with its quotes and Bill Morrow's statements -

Mr STEPHEN JONES: Do you have any information on what these super users look like?

Mr Morrow : We certainly know the per cent and the amount of data that they're consuming.

Mr STEPHEN JONES: Is it video content? Is it streaming content? Is it data downloads? Is it uploading?

Mr Morrow : We believe it's gamers predominantly.

Here we have Morrow defining what a "super user" is.

Mr BRIAN MITCHELL: On fixed wireless.

Mr Morrow : On fixed wireless.

Here we have Morrow describing what technology the "super user" is congesting.

Then the back peddle after defining what a "super user" is

Mr STEPHEN JONES: With great respect to everything you've said over the last 15 minutes, you've been saying to us that the problem here is «gamers» and—

Mr Morrow : I never said that. Hold on, I never said that—

Senator O'NEILL: You said superusers—

Mr STEPHEN JONES: I said superusers—

Mr Morrow : I said that there are superusers out there consuming terabytes of data, and the question is: should we groom those down? It's a consideration. Don't put words in my mouth.