Australia: NBN broadband speeds improved for most

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Competition among Internet service providers (ISP) to perform well in the ACCC’s speed tests is delivering good results for fixed-line NBN customers, although some consumers continue to receive substantially slower speeds than typically available to other consumers on the same plan.

This third ACCC Measuring Broadband Australia (MBA) report, prepared for the ACCC by SamKnows, provides new data on the performance of NBN services from major ISPs.

The ISP with the fastest broadband this quarter was TPG followed by Aussie Broadband, iiNet, Optus, Telstra and MyRepublic, with the latter picking up speed considerably on the last quarter.

Overall, 69 per cent of all tests continued to achieve download speeds of above 90 per cent of maximum plan speeds, while seven per cent of tests recorded less than 50 per cent of the maximum.

“Industry says it is working hard to contact customers whose NBN connections aren’t able to deliver the maximum speeds of their plan,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said. “We encourage customers who aren’t getting the speeds they expected to contact their internet service provider to see if they need to change plans. We will continue to closely monitor the progress of industry in remedying this issue.”

The good news for customers is that broadband speeds did not slow significantly in the busy hours (7-11pm), with average speeds across all busy hours reducing by just 1 percentage point compared with the average. This was true for both standard speed plans and the increasing number of consumers on higher speed NBN plans.

NBN services continued to outperform ADSL services, with NBN plans sold with a maximum speed of 25 Mbps on average achieving a download speed of 22.7 Mbps during the busy hour, three times the average busy hour download speed recorded for ADSL plans.

“We are pleased that the Measuring Broadband Australia program is being taken very seriously by Internet service providers and is delivering noticeable improvements to customers’ broadband speeds,” Sims said. “We note NBN Co has reported that congestion has increased slightly in recent months. Our results suggest that ISPs not featured in this report could be contributing to this, as the overall results featured in this MBA report do not show an upward trend in congestion.”

“We want to encourage consumers, particularly those with smaller internet service providers, to register their interest in the program so we can provide statistically significant results for a wider range of services,” Sims added. “Volunteers are making a real difference to Australia’s broadband performance but we don’t yet have the full picture, and strongly encourage more people to sign up.”

In each report, the ACCC explores a particular issue in more depth, with the focus of this one on the difference in busy hour broadband performance between NBN urban services and NBN regional services.

Urban services, which are those provided in towns with a population of over 10,000, receive higher speeds than regional services, but the difference is not significant, with those in urban areas receiving 84.8 per cent of maximum speeds on average compared with 83 per cent per cent of speeds in regional areas.


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