MyRepublic Says Its Gamer NBN Plan Is Actually For Gamers

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Overnight, upstart Singaporean ISP MyRepublic launched an unlimited data, single speed tier plan on Australia's NBN. It has a 'gamer' variant of that plan, too, that it says is actually different -- not just branding, not just smoke and mirrors. It's talking about optimised latency for gaming, and optimised routes to popular servers.

We spoke to the man that promises to make it happen in Australia, and he has some choice words about how to fix the NBN, what Telstra and Optus are doing wrong, and how building a network for gamers is easy -- if you know what you're doing.

MyRepublic's Gamer NBN plan is simple, as NBN plans go. It's a single speed tier of up to 100Mbps download and 40Mbps upload. It's unlimited quota. It'll be available on all NBN connections, when it launches on November 18. And it's really, actually, properly cheap: $59.99 per month. It's even throwing in a discount on the new PS4 Pro to the first 500 people that sign up.

To MyRepublic's CEO Malcolm Rodrigues, building a NBN plan that actually benefits gamers is relatively easy. "We started as a gaming ISP. We had a bunch of guys at our company that told us gamers were completely mismanaged by the incumbent ISPs -- if World of Warcraft is down, you call Singtel [Optus], they don't know anything. And they told us that latency is very important.

"So the beginning of our network was designed by people who are gamers. We've done a couple of simple things -- on the network side, we've created a separate VLAN that we put the gamers on, they get prioritisation as they come through to the core of the network.

"We do prioritisation across all types of traffic -- if you're watching a 4K video your packets get priority over HD, because they're more sensitive. We love gamer packets, because they need to go really quickly but they're not big; they're control packets. They're small so you can prioritise them and send them off without affecting everything else.

"In Singapore, we built routes to all the popular gaming servers. In Singapore, you can see the latency to around 18 different servers, and if it goes over a certain threshold our guys will deal with it and reroute. It's all transparent, so people can actually see it, and gamers can suggest new servers for us. When traffic to a data centre rises, we increase the size of the pipe.

"We also have a gaming hotline -- you don't hit a customer service rep that says "World of Warcraft, what's that?", you hit someone that speaks the same language. We also have an association with Razer and Steelseries, too, brands that gamers like. The vast majority of people that use us aren't console users, they're [PC] online gamers."

MyRepublic is trying hard to tell gamers -- and the general public -- that it's different to the big, incumbent telcos like Optus (whose SingTel owner is a direct competitor to MyRepublic in its home country of Singapore) and Telstra. "It's the same everywhere; it's the easiest thing to do. Why would I invest all this money, I have all this market share -- why would I spend hundreds of millions of dollars to re-do everything? People don't know any better. Lack of competition means a lack of innovation.

"If you look at traditional telcos, they treat everyone the same. Certain users, when they use the internet a certain way, you can create a product for them that suits them. When we started five years ago, things like Netflix were new -- so we had a product called Pure that [prioritised routes] for video streaming. Now it's mainstream, so we've adapted that into every package.

"One of the discussions that we're going to bring to the forefront is that 99 out of 100 Australians don't know the speed that they're connected to. They know their data cap. People don't know what they get, and they don't know what they get.

"In Singapore, we started with 100Mbps, we saw the number of devices in a home rise from 3 to 12. Then that made 100Mbps obsolete, and now the default is 1Gbps, you can buy 2Gbps. So speed is really important. We're always trying to stay ahead of the curve.

"For low latency, if you prioritise packets properly, you only lose a bit of speed -- because you don't need to prioritise all of it, you need low latency for your control packets. But as your overall bundle of traffic and your neighbour's traffic becomes more video oriented, the size of it increases."

MyRepublic's 'gamer' NBN plan does sound tempting at face value. $59.99 a month gets you unlimited quota on that latency-optimised portion of MyRepublic's internal network at speeds up to 100Mbps download and 40Mbps upload. Your final speed, though, is dependent on whether you're on a purely fibre technology like fibre to the premises, or a less ideal connection like fibre to the node or hybrid fibre-coaxial.

And MyRepublic's Rodrigues is not the NBN's biggest fan. Not in its current form. He's gone on record before calling fibre to the node "shit" as a technology compared to FTTP, and repeated that to Kotaku.

"The biggest problem with FTTN and HFC is that they're copper based technologies. Fibre is passive -- you can have pretty big rain storms and nothing happens. The incident rate on copper versus fibre is 15 to one. Any time there's any external or environmental issues, someone on FTTN will have a degraded service or a loss of service.

"The NBN started here and it was a beautiful thing. Somewhere along the line the [government] lost their way. But we believe it'll come back. NBN isn't just a network, it's about policy: in Singapore the policy changed and it became a happy place. In New Zealand, everyone was selling a 30Mbps service -- and we had to go in and tell them to lower the cost of the 100Mbps, because the cost is... it's the same.

"We know all the costs. 30Mbps to 2Gbps, the increment is like 5 per cent. We shared data, we said you need to move to 1Gbps -- and it took about a year and a half, and they have a 1Gbps service almost at a mass market price. It's about 30 per cent of our sales. It's the same in Australia: nobody should be using 30Mbps, people should be using 100Mbps. They should be using 1Gbps.

"The incumbents don't want it to change. The NBN doesn't want to make a big deal about it, because they have this mixed technology. They don't want you to be getting 100Mbps on fibre, and your friend is on FTTN and the most he can get is 15Mbps. He pays the same amount of tax, and he lives a neighbourhood away -- what's going on? We want to open the kimono.

"I've been approached by a vendor. They will give me a licence, they will build it for me -- a NBN 1Gbps network -- in Papua New Guinea. So there's a chance that in the year and a half, Papua New Guinea will have a nationwide 1Gbps NBN, and Australia will still be trying to convince people about 30Mbps.

"The time has come how to get there -- you need to get the politics out of it, you can't get 1Gbps or 100Mbps everywhere on day one, but you have to plan to get there."


    ... in the year and a half, Papua New Guinea will have a nationwide 1Gbps NBN, and Australia will still be trying to convince people about 30Mbps.

    *Flips table. Storms out.*

      I accidentally flagged this post. I wanted to flag it for awesome :P

      because no company is going to invest in upgrading its services when NBN will be (allegedly) rolled out by 2020. New Guinea doesn't have millions of miles of copper wires and the areas which do have the internet will be more concentrated than Australia. One of the down falls of living on a massive fucking island with very small percentage inhabited, yet vastly spread out. Still infuriating when you're trying to get a quick TDM in on COD with a ping of 500ms around 4:30 in the afternoon.

        Holy necropost, batman!

        My dad worked on tendering for PNG's network infrastructure at the turn of the century, and it really was not economically viable at the time. The population is not dense compared to our major cities which comprise the vast majority of our population, and the cost of service is significantly more expensive per unit of living wage.

        It's time we stopped crippling our very large population centres to appease farmers. We're not a giant, spread out island, we're several very well-defined, populated areas, and "other". And because oir cities are so much newer than their equivalents overseas, we actually have an advantage when it comes to physical telecom access.

    Must admit, very tempted to churn. Kinda painful though as I just paid a pretty huge sign up fee with node about a month ago...

      This has prompted me to finally put a bullet in iinet, who I used to love and now hate vitriolically.

    we've created a separate VLAN that we put the gamers on

    Does that mean they're doing a Dodo (who I'm currently with) and not letting you use your own router without a) having the settings available to you, and b) having to jump through a ton of hoops to get it to work properly?

    I hate VLAN's so very, very much.

      There is better ways to do VLAN tagging than Dodo's quagmire version

      I would assume they're talking about vlan tagging in their own network rather than the customer's network. That is, the first MyRepublic machine your NBN connection box talks to tags the traffic appropriately so they can apply the "gaming" routing policies as it flows over their network.

    Im not in a suburb that has NBN (and probably wont get it anytime soon, plus it'll be good old FTTN at best when we get it in 30 years) but i will keep this company in mind for when i do need to get an NBN plan because, 1. it seems like a pretty good deal and 2. the company/the boss guy quoted here seems pretty cool and has the right idea about how internet service providers should be.

    Hang on, is this available on all the NBN FTTx/HFC types or not? The other article about their "regular" 100/40 plan says it's available on FTTP only.

    EDIT: Okay, after reading the CIS, I see what they're doing. There are no speed "tiers". There's one speed, theoretically up to 100/40Mbps.

    However, what your actual speed is depends on your NBN technology type. If you're on FTTP, you're more likely to get that 100/40. If you're on FTTN, it's just whatever your maximum line speed is.

    Basically what this does is avoids situations like "I'm currently on 25/5 and maxing that out. I upgraded to a 100/40 speed tier, but because I'm on FTTN, I actually only get something like 30/10, despite still paying for 100/40".

    You pay one price, you get whatever maximum speed your connection supports.

    What I'm going to be interested to see is what the contention ratios are like. $59.99/month doesn't leave a lot of money for CVC charges, and that's a major factor in determining your actual end speed during peak hours. If your ISP doesn't buy enough CVC from nbn co, you won't get your advertised speeds in peak hours, even if you're on an awesome FTTP connection. That CVC is also prohibitively expensive (i.e. $10-15 per Mbps).

    Last edited 04/11/16 5:12 pm

      I have a feeling that MR will be running at cost, and subsidised by its Singapore and NZ arms until a point where CVC charges become sane. At least that feels like what they will be doing if their actions in the NZ market are anything to go by.

        I figured that was a possibility, as they'll want to make a splash and they can't do that by offering the same congested service everyone else does on the NBN.

        However, I do also know peak time congestion is something of an issue for MR in New Zealand. Waiting to see what initial impressions are like.

          Considering that their are quite a few reports stating that other providers have issues in Australia with congested service around peak periods. At least with MY you will probably be paying less for the same congested service....

          Hopefully MY drops the internet prices in Aus like they have here in Singapore (1gbps was $150-500 a month before MY brought in their $49.99 1Gbps plan), I think that is the best we can hope for now in Aus after the mess that out NBN is now in.

            Oh, the CVC congestion is a massive issue for every ISP. For an ISP to provide 25/5 even 50% of the time in a month, they'd need to pay around $150/month in CVC. And that's before the ISP actually makes a profit. No wonder the average bandwidth allocation by ISPs on NBN is ~0.9Mbps per customer.

            What wouldn't surprise me is if MyRepublic buy a boatload more CVC at launch than the incumbents and subsidise it via their Singapore and NZ arms. That way they generate a whole heap of good publicity. Then 6-12 months later they'll drop back to "normal".

            Worst case scenario is they're as congested as everyone else and you don't lose anything. Just pay the $199 ETF and be done with it.

    Well I'm sold. I pay $96 per month for 250GB @ 100d/40u with quota free xbox and netflix. If I could get unlimited for that I would.

    I moved to Singapore about six months ago from Australia and signed up with MyRepublic over here. If they do the same packages for routers in Singapore for customers in Australia, that would be very impressive. I got a ASUS AC88U for $129 (a saving of $300), which just blows all of the propriety routers that Optus/Telstra give you out of the water.

    Additionally, they came to my house and set everything up (including the new router), and I have not had a single issue with their service at all. Unfortunately Australian internet has been completely screwed, but at least with MyRepublic you will be paying a little less for your screwed internet....

    They sound amazing. I've bookmarked the site.

    But, er, why did you use that screenshot? I dunno what it's from, but do they come from a cyberpunk dystopia with messy offices?

    That's great, but there's one little problem. You have to actually have NBN, which won't even start being looked at for my area until 2018 and I have no doubt the government will have flip-flopped about like a Magikarp on crack and screwed things up even more by then.

      will have flip-flopped about like a Magikarp

      That's being overly generous. Magikarps eventually evolve; I don't see either side do so even in the distant future.

    This MyRepublic lot seem like one of those things that is way too good to be true... Especially when you're talking about internet in Australia.

    Guess I wont have to worry about it anytime soon anyway... The NBN rollout map for where I'm living currently comes to the start of the street, and no further.

    I'd love this...too bad it requires the NBN. My area has Telstra cable (including FTTN) everywhere and I can get 100down/2 up if I want to pay $110 per month. Currently pay $90 per month for 30down/1up.

    I filled out their pre-order form to see if I can sign up with them. Telstra did their FTTN rollout here years before the NBN started...hence I'll never get the current NBN.

    I wonder what my chances are of getting this if I"m on cable, but not NBN. Probably a dumb question I guess.

    I haven't had any problems with iiNet, any outages I've had have been NBN, and no congestion, but tempted to churn just to support a decent new player. Only issue being I might have to move in March, which could mean I go from 100/40 to 2mbps ADSL2 care of our disgraceful internet in Australia.

    Last edited 08/11/16 7:35 am

    I "pre-registered" a few days ago, but haven't heard anything back, not even a confirmation email.

    Doesn't exactly fill me with confidence...

      If you still haven't heard from them after the 15th, then I'd be worried.

      Last edited 13/11/16 8:46 pm

    I think a review is now needed, MyRepublic off peak speed on FTTB 97mbps peak period..... 11mbps

    MyRepublic is an utter failure everyone says the same thing, congestion is an absolute mess, better off on ADSL.

    They talk about the first gigatown how are they going to do this if they can't even provide 11mbs properly at peak period.

    This story has peaked my interest.

    I have FTTP NBN and am looking for a way out of Expensive and Throttled Telstra Hell. $59.99Per Month sounds great for 100/40/Unl especially when compared to $180-250Per Month (depending on if I use my landline and how much I use it) for 92/37/1Tb and being forced to bundle my landline to make it THE MOST expensive landline in Australia and probably the world. Then get throttled so hard that ADSL2 performs better at certain times of the day.

    Like during the prime time when I can't watch 480p Youtube videos because of incessant buffering, and after being on hold for 3 hours a Telstra call center operator in New Delhi flat-out denies Telstras throttling of the NBN. I call BS on that. I suspect Telstra throttles the bandwith aggressively and gives that bandwith to those customers that pay $$$$ extra per month for a T-Box subscription, as it seems to be the time when T-Box customers settle down to watch their movies on their T-Boxes than my NBN speeds tank and ping goes through the roof!

    FTTP should be the full speed as it is all optical and no decaying copper wires are used, like the FTTN systems, and at no time of any day do I get 100Mbps download or 40Mbps upload on any speed testing program, and I only have good ping when connecting to an Australian server (2ms) but when I try to connect to an overseas server my ping jumps to over 300ms making any MMO a rubberbanding fiesta (assuming I can even get into the lobby without a timeout).

    I already have iiNet lined up as for about $65.00Per Month I get 100/40/unl and free local calls on VOIP which means no line rental charges from Telstra, but this may (or may not) be cheaper depending on if I can find a cheap landline plan and preferably to find a way to deny telstra line rental charges.

    But of course I will do a ton more research before I even consider commiting to MyRepublic. I already done a ton of research that got iiNet to the top of my shortlist. I am not throwing all that work away to sign up to a company I know nothing about. That would be foolish on an epic scale!

    Last edited 27/08/17 9:36 pm

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