NBN speeds still falling short

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s latest broadband speed data shows some concerning results.

While most NBN fixed-line broadband customers are receiving relatively fast internet speeds, including during busy hours, there is still an important number who are receiving poor service, including around seven per cent of consumers who receive less than half of the maximum speed of their plan.

The ACCC’s second Measuring Broadband Australia (MBA) report provides data on the performance of six major internet service providers (ISPs) – Aussie Broadband, iiNet, MyRepublic, Optus, Telstra and TPG.

Overall, 70 per cent of all tests continued to achieve download speeds of above 90 per cent of maximum plan speeds. This is largely in line with the results of the ACCC’s first MBA report.

Within this average, there remains considerable disparity in performance between ISPs with busy hour average speeds of between 74 and 88 per cent of maximum plan speeds.

One ISP who was lagging behind the field, Optus, recorded an improvement on the previous report’s result, which illustrates the benefit of the MBA program.

In general, speeds were not reduced significantly in the busy hours (7–11pm) with speeds for most ISPs about one percentage point below speeds recorded across all hours, and the download speeds for MyRepublic reduced by five percentage points.

“Whilst we are pleased to see that most customers are able to get fast, reliable broadband services even during busy hours, we must focus our attention on those who do not have this experience,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

In each report, the ACCC explores a particular issue in more depth. This report looks at the impact that ‘underperforming services’ are having on overall download speeds. These services do not achieve speeds that approach the maximum plan speeds at any time of the day.

Across the six ISPs, there is potential for speed results to improve by between 1.5 and 9.4 percentage points if these underperforming services instead reached close to the maximum plan speed.

“Overall, the results are encouraging, particularly when considering the significant recent migration of NBN customers to higher speed plans, where hard limits on individual connections to the network are more likely to impede services reaching their maximum speeds,” Mr Sims said.

However, the data highlights that there are areas for improvement and so should prompt further performance-based competition among the ISPs to close this gap for consumers.

“We urge providers to help customers obtain the full speeds associated with the plans they are acquiring,” Mr Sims said.

“We also expect ISPs to inform customers of the speeds achievable on their network connections, and better match the plans they offer to those speeds. The recent court enforceable undertakings accepted by the ACCC will help with this,” Mr Sims said.

Optus, which last quarter performed at the weak end of the field, significantly improved its download speeds in this quarter. The speeds of the other three ISPs from the initial report declined slightly.

The two new ISPs in this report book-end the field, with Aussie Broadband recording the highest speeds, and MyRepublic at the lower end of the range.

This quarter, the average download speeds recorded for the busy hours, as a percentage of maximum plan speed are: Aussie Broadband 88.3, TPG 85.6, iiNet 83.4, Optus 83.3, Telstra 79.9 and MyRepublic 74.4.

Are you happy with your broadband speeds? Which provider are you with?

Written by Ben

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