Increased net demand

AS COVID-19 becomes more widespread, an unprecedented number of professionals are being asked to work from home and stay "connected".

This is leading to a shift in Australia's internet usage patterns and increase demand in residential data, according to the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Founder and chief executive officer of Mallee Rising Paul Dillon said as we enter "uncharted times", now is the time to consider the things we usually take for granted.

"It is difficult to predict how Australia's telecoms infrastructure will handle a sudden spike in usage patterns by the population," Mr Dillon told The Guardian.

"From our old underground copper network to satellite National Broadband Network (NBN) and mobile phone services, I think we're going into uncharted territory where even the experts would not be totally comfortable with whether the ageing infrastructure can keep up."

Mr Dillon said a sudden increase of home-based workers, children and youth streaming content could "push infrastructure to the edge" but having a "diversified approach" was a useful option.

"All we can try to do is prepare for all the different scenarios," he said.

"If you have a limited amount of NBN data per month, talk to your provider about increasing it straight away.

"People can normally go up and down with their plans so why not double it temporarily or take it to unlimited packaging."

Mr Dillon also advised people to consider increasing the monthly data allowance with your mobile phone provider.

"If the NBN mobile services grind to a halt, you can hot spot off your phone, where you can connect data on your phone to your laptop," he said.

Mr Dillon said while digital connectivity is important for keeping in touch with family and friends, it can sometimes act as a "double edged sword".

"People can be exposed to misinformation via social media which can amplify any panic," he said.

"The connectivity allows people to get access information when they want and need it but it's about knowing which sources you can trust."

Mr Dillon advised all internet users to be aware of scams at all times.

"Generally, whenever there is a crisis there is an increase in scams from hackers," he said.

"People should think twice when they receive an email they are not expecting about coronavirus and definitely do not click on links or open attachments especially if it's from a source you're not expecting."