Which internet providers deliver the best speeds?

Australia’s internet providers are finally delivering very close to the speeds that they promise, according to the latest Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report.

The Measuring Broadband Australia report showed that internet service providers (ISPs) achieved between 86.8 and 99.1 per cent of their plan speeds during the busy evening hours of 7pm to 11pm, which is the best result since the ACCC started monitoring this performance.

The report also showed that the performance gap between the larger and the smaller telecommunications companies was narrowing when it came to achieving these results.

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Internet service provider Exetel improved the most, as its download speeds reached 98.7 per cent of plan speed during the busy evening hours, up 8.8 percentage points since the last report.

Exetel is a reseller that acquires broadband services from another provider, rather than buying directly from NBN and is now achieving results that are comparable with providers that directly connect to the NBN, ACCC commissioner Anna Brakey explained.

“These latest results suggest the NBN is performing well and retail service providers are largely delivering what consumers expect and have paid for,” Ms Brakey said.

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“These results suggest that a broader range of retailers, not just those that directly connect to the NBN, are able to achieve close to full plan speeds, which is good news for consumers and competition. This points to a further maturing of the broadband market.”

Exetel’s 98.7 per cent download as a percentage of its promised speed delivery placed it in second place behind Optus, which provided 99.1 per cent of the speed promised.

Telstra was in third place with 97.6 per cent, ahead of TPG (96.8), Aussie Broadband (96), iiNet (94.7) and MyRepublic (94.3).

The worst telco performance in the February 2021 report were Dodo and iPrimus, who were only able to deliver an average download speed at 86.8 per cent of their promised speeds during peak periods, the only ISPs that could not deliver above 90 per cent.

In February 2021, consumers on NBN fixed wireless connections experienced average download speeds of 81.2 per cent of maximum plan speed across the day, declining to about 70.8 per cent during the busy hours of 7-11pm. This represents a small improvement since December 2020.

“Despite the decline during busy hours, consumers on the fixed wireless network are experiencing sufficient speeds to access a range of internet applications,” Ms Brakey said. 

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The report also provides a first indicative view on the performance of very high speed NBN plans called ‘Home Ultrafast’. These are plans where the underlying wholesale product sold by NBN Co has a download speed range of 500-990 Mbps.

In February, consumers on Home Ultrafast NBN plans experienced average speeds between 608 and 745 Mbps. Between 7-11pm, performance fell by 23 per cent on average compared with the day’s maximum.

“We encourage consumers who are weighing up whether to upgrade to a very high-speed tier to consider the value of these services relative to their normal daily usage,” Ms Brakey said.

“Most Australians have 50 Mbps speed plans, which are capable of meeting the needs of a typical household even when multiple devices are online at the same time.”

Web browsing and consumer experience
The ACCC report also examined factors that could impact web browsing performance.

It showed that the NBN access speed and retail service provider chosen by a consumer did not have a material impact on website browsing performance.

The report also shows that only small differences exist in web browsing performance for NBN25 plans and above.

“When choosing NBN plans, consumers should consider the number of people in their household that will be online at the same time and whether they use online applications that require higher levels of network speed and performance, such as gaming, video streaming and video conferencing,” Ms Brakey said.

What are the internet speeds like in your area? Have you noticed an improvement in speed this year? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

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Written by Ben Hocking

Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.

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