Broadband retailers are continuing to deliver download speeds to consumers that are close to their maximum plan speeds, the ACCC’s latest Measuring Broadband Australia report finds.
The report also shows that although most NBN customers receive stable connections to the network, on average one in 15 experiences at least one outage per day. Fixed wireless and hybrid fibre coaxial customers experience outages more frequently than those on fibre to the premises.
Australians with NBN fixed-line connections typically received 98.1 per cent of their maximum plan download speed during the weekday busy hours of 7-11pm in March 2023. For uploads, the average busy hour speed as a percentage of maximum plan speed was lower, at 85.4 per cent, reflecting the absence of overprovisioning on the uplink.
“Consumers rightly expect to receive the download and upload speeds that they are paying for. The report shows that broadband retailers are consistently delivering download speeds close to consumers’ maximum plan speeds,” ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said.
Higher speeds for Fixed Wireless Plus plans
Significantly more NBN Fixed Wireless Plus plans achieved download speeds above the 50 Mbps benchmark in March 2023, following changes made by NBN Co to the fixed wireless network.
The report compares the download performance over time for households that have remained on the Fixed Wireless Plus plan from February 2022 to March 2023. In March 2023, 72 per cent of these services achieved average speeds above 50 Mbps, compared to 37 per cent in February 2022.
NBN Fixed Wireless Plus plans are a best-effort service, and unlike fixed-line plans, they do not have a specified maximum plan speed but deliver the highest speeds available on the network at the time.
“We have previously called out the underperformance of fixed wireless plans, so it is encouraging to see that more people are experiencing faster speeds,” Ms Brakey said.
Figure 1. Distribution of mean and maximum download speeds
More broadly across NBN fixed wireless technology, services saw a slight improvement in download and upload speeds since the last report. These services attained an average busy hour download of 86.2 per cent of their maximum plan speed, compared to 84.7 per cent in the December 2022 report. Upload speeds increased to 60.5 per cent of the maximum plan speed, compared to 58.7 per cent in the previous quarter.
Other services record strong performance
NBN very high speed services recorded average hourly download speeds in March 2023 that ranged from 671 Mbps to 814 Mbps throughout the day, consistent with the range of 688 Mbps to 820 Mbps observed in December 2022. Further, 54.4 per cent of all download speed tests performed on these services for the report exceeded 900 Mbps.
Non-NBN superfast networks, including Uniti Group’s OptiComm and LBNCo networks, also remained on par with the performance recorded last quarter. These services attained average busy hour download speeds of 102 per cent and upload speeds of 89 per cent of their maximum plan speeds in March 2023.
“Alternative networks continue to achieve strong results for download and upload speeds. This shows that most broadband consumers can achieve their contracted speeds on both the NBN and Uniti Group networks,” Ms Brakey said.
Note to editors
The goal of the Measuring Broadband Australia quarterly reports is to encourage greater performance-based competition and better internet performance throughout the country, while increasing transparency amongst consumers.
Maximum plan speed refers to the download data rate associated with the retail NBN plan. For example, on an NBN100 plan, the nominal maximum download speed is 100 Mbps. It is possible for consumers to receive this speed, or slightly above, as NBN Co overprovisions the downlink of some products by 10-15 per cent but does not overprovision the uplink.
NBN fixed-line services and NBN fixed wireless services utilise different technologies that are not directly comparable in terms of performance. The quality and maximum speed of a fixed wireless connection is often more variable than fixed-line technology.
MyRepublic is no longer reported separately in the Measuring Broadband Australia report as it has exited the residential broadband market. Its retail customers have migrated to Superloop, which acquired the MyRepublic NBN retail business.
The ACCC encourages other superfast access network operators to support the MBA program and contact the ACCC if they are interested in joining. The Federal Government funded the ACCC to run a national broadband performance monitoring and reporting program from 2017-25.
Data for Measuring Broadband Australia is provided by UK-based firm SamKnows using methodology based on established speed testing programs in the UK, US, Canada and New Zealand.
To sign up, visit Measuring Broadband Australia.