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article imageAustralians given free mobile data for one day only, use 1,841 TB

By James Walker     Feb 15, 2016 in Technology
Customers of Australian telecoms company Telstra had a "free web" day yesterday as an apology from the firm for a major network outage earlier in the week. Its users were predictably quick to take advantage of the offer, consuming over 1,800 terabytes.
The Valentine's Day deal went down well with many customers who saw it as an appropriate form of compensation for the issues experienced on Tuesday February 9. Telstra suffered a very large-scale service outage across all its different platforms, ranging from ancient 2G mobile Internet to ADSL fibre. The company later blamed "embarrassing human error" and promised customers a day of completely free network usage by way of apology.
Naturally, the publicized offer led to an almost instant spike of traffic from the start of February 14 as customers rushed to download things their data cap would normally prevent. According to Telstra, network usage rocketed "as soon as midnight ticked over" and was already at usual peak weekday levels by 8 a.m. The traffic kept climbing throughout the day as all of Telstra's customers, whether they be personal, business or pre-paid, enjoyed unlimited Internet access.
In total, 1,841 terabytes were consumed — twice as much as on a typical Sunday, Telstra's usual peak day. The provider notes it equates to 2.3 million movie downloads, 5.1 million Game of Thrones episodes or 23 million downloads of Kanye's new The Life of Pablo album.
Network usage was so high that download speeds were noticeably lower than usual, but that didn't stop customers intent on getting as much "compensation" as they could. One user took to Reddit to show off their usage for the day, totaling over 420 gigabytes. This was achieved by tethering an LG G4 smartphone to a computer and downloading hundreds of movies.
One Telstra customer downloaded 421GB on the provider s free Internet day
One Telstra customer downloaded 421GB on the provider's free Internet day
The accompanying screenshot shows Telstra's mobile app warning that "7194 percent" of the customer's 6GB monthly plan was consumed. They managed to download 25 seasons of "How It's Made", a few "other random TV show seasons" and a total of 172 titles from gaming platform Steam.
Telstra apologised again for the extended outage from last week. It said it hopes the free data "helps make up for some of the inconvenience we caused." The reaction on Reddit indicates many customers have been left satisfied.
Aside from being a friendly gesture to its disgruntled customers, the free data day also gave Telstra a chance to test its network at a scale unlikely to be experienced again without another such day. The company said that it "performed as designed" when handling the huge load, despite 4G services slowing down due to sheer demand.
The user who downloaded 420GB of files told ABC News he was "super happy" with the speeds though, seeing a minimum 4G transfer rate of 30Mbit/s at peak time. The free data day has left many other Telstra customers a lot happier too, provided it doesn't experience a similar network outage again anytime soon.
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