Essential broadband activities like browsing, checking emails and specific software updates will have no impact on monthly data caps under NBN Co's new Sky Muster Plus product, according to Communications Minister Paul Fletcher.
Mr Fletcher said some online browsing activities like completing schoolwork, banking, accessing health or government services, keeping your smartphone and PC operating system software up to date would not contribute to a household's monthly data allowance with the Sky Muster Plus product.
"Sky Muster Plus is a great example of the flexibility of the NBN satellites, delivering tailored products to allow consumers to access greater benefits from their Sky Muster service," Mr Fletcher said.
Minister for Regional Services Mark Coulton said Sky Muster Plus users would have more opportunities to embrace online services.
"Today's announcement will improve connectivity and provide families with a fast and reliable service to stay in touch with loved ones and build their businesses," he said.
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Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia (BIRRR) spokesperson Kristy Sparrow said the new product had some flaws, but overall is a step in the right direction.
"The biggest negative people would find is the actual cost of Sky Muster Plus," she said.
"We encourage NBN Co to look at the wholesale price of the product because the cost is quite high.
"It is also difficult for people to know how it will benefit them unless they are very familiar with their browsing habits. It might not be easy to work out what plan to go for."
Mrs Sparrow said BIRR was happy the NBN had made improvements to the product.
"I was delighted in my trial that I found 37 per cent of my data was unmetered," she said. "What I am excited about is that if all your data is used up by the kids watching Netflix, you won't get shaped (slowed down) to do the essential tasks, so I can still conduct my business even when you're shaped on metered data."
"I would encourage NBN to continue working on enhancing the Sky Muster satellite, and we are appreciative of their efforts so far."
NBN Co's CEO Stephen Rue said that around one-third of the total data used in July was unmetered.
"This not only frees up more data for metered activities such as video streaming or accessing cloud storage and we know this is particularly important for small businesses, which are critical to local communities," he said.
The Sky Muster Plus product is now available on a variety of plans but only to eligible premises.
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