NBN broadband speeds much improved for most, but not all

5 November 2018

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,” Mr 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,” Mr Sims said.

“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.

Notes to editors

Testing of 25, 50, and 100 Mbps plans and ADSL services took place in August 2018 and involved 950 NBN and ADSL services supplied by 15 ISPs, using 171,000 download speed tests. Results are statistically significant with a small sampling error.

See also

Measuring Broadband Australia report 3

Broadband speed information for consumers

More information: Measuring Broadband Australia

Background

In April 2017 the Federal Government announced that it would fund the ACCC to implement an independent national broadband performance monitoring and reporting program to provide Australian consumers with accurate and independent information about broadband speeds through to 2021.

Program testing and data is provided by UK-based firm SamKnows using internationally tested methods similar to those used in established programs in the UK, US and Canada.

The program has so far collected expressions of interest from over 10,000 potential volunteers, and has a growing testing panel of over 1000 volunteers in the field in readiness for the next quarter of testing.

Interested broadband customers can apply to be a volunteer by signing up at https://measuringbroadbandaustralia.com.au

Figure 1. NBN plan speed delivered during busy hours

Aussie Broadband 2.5%
iiNet 1.4%
MyRepublic 7.7%
Optus 0.7%
Telstra 3.6%
TPG 2.8%
Aussie Broadband 1.6%
iiNet 1.9%
MyRepublic 4.8%
Optus 1.4%
Telstra 3.4%
TPG 4.1%
  • Busy hours = 7.00pm to 11.00pm.
  • = Benchmark level 60%.
  • Percentage point changes compared with previous quarter's measurements.
  • Percent of maximum plan speed.

Figure 2. Potential speed excluding results that are unable to achieve maximum plan speeds during busy hours

  • indicates what the average speeds would be if plans that are not able to achieve maximum plan speeds were excluded from the overall results. This includes NBN FTTN services not capable of delivering 50mbps. If you are a customer on a plan which does not deliver the maximum speeds, please contact your provider directly to arrange to go on a different, likely cheaper, plan.

Figure 3. Download speed in urban & regional areas

Release number: 
222/18
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