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Mobile, broadband use soars, Telstra says

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Telstra CEO Andy Penn at the National Press Club in Canberra, Wednesday, July 31, 2019. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Mobile phone calls and broadband usage have risen by up to 30 per cent as more Australians work from home or try to contact Centrelink during the coronavirus crisis, Telstra says.

The telecommunications giant said call volumes to 1800 and 13 prefix information numbers spiked this week.

"They have increased up to 20 fold," CEO Andy Penn told Nine's Today show on Wednesday.

"On data and fixed broadband networks, what we use at home, we're seeing data volumes up about 10 per cent and on the mobile data side, they're up about 20-30 per cent."

But Mr Penn said while the Telstra network was experiencing "pinch points", overall it was holding up and performing pretty well.

The federal government-owned National Broadband Network has already increased capacity for telecoms service providers by 40 per cent since the health crisis began.

Mr Penn warned once that was exhausted, due to the high volume of internet traffic, more physical infrastructure might be needed "which we've got the ability to do, but that does take a bit more time".

"We can all learn how to adapt and manage our internet use, which would be helpful," he added.

Internet users are being advised to download programs they want to watch, rather than use real-time streaming, and practice "internet etiquette" in the home.

"You have the kids studying and mum and dad working from home at the same time [so] just a little bit of patience and sharing [is needed]," Mr Penn said.

© AAP 2020