NBN plan speeds pick up for most consumers

12 February 2020

Australians are benefitting from faster average download speeds, the ACCC’s eighth Measuring Broadband Australia report reveals, with retail service providers (RSPs) now delivering more than 80 per cent of maximum plan speeds in the busy evening hours.

The latest Measuring Broadband Australia report, based on speed tests carried out during November 2019, shows Australian broadband plans achieved average download speeds of 85.3 per cent of their maximum possible speeds during the busy evening hours of 7pm to 11pm.

Consumers on lower-priced plans were more likely to come close to getting the fastest download speed possible on their connections. Consumers on 12 Mbps plans received an average of 90.4 per cent of their connection’s maximum possible speed, while those on 25 Mbps plans received 88.7 per cent.

Across all plans, most RSPs achieved scores of between 84.3 and 86.6 per cent, while Optus recorded the highest score of 89.9 per cent.

Dodo/iPrimus recorded the biggest improvement in the busy hour download speed score, achieving 80 per cent of maximum plan speeds, up from 76.4 per cent in August 2019.

However, many high speed fibre to the node (FTTN) connections still don’t come close to performing as promised. The results show that about a quarter of those consumers on FTTN connections, who are paying for high-speed 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps plans, still did not receive anywhere near their full plan speeds, at any time.

“We are pleased to see that speeds have generally improved, however we need more action from NBN Co and retail service providers so that all consumers can access their full NBN plan speeds,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“This Measuring Broadband Australia data clearly shows that too many consumers with FTTN connections are not receiving the speeds they are paying for.”

The report shows that, across all plans and connections, most RSPs improved their average download speeds over the three months from August to November 2019, including during the busy evening hours.

However, results would have been between 1.4 percentage points and 6.2 percentage points better if issues causing poor performance on some FTTN connections, such as problems with in-house wiring, had been addressed.

“Consumers with underperforming connections are encouraged to get in touch with their RSPs, and ask whether a technician may be able to fix their connection issues,” Mr Sims said.

“Otherwise, they should be able to move to a cheaper plan with top speeds their connection can actually provide.”

NBN services continue to outperform ADSL services across a range of measurements. Consumers on entry level NBN 12 Mbps plans received an average download speed of 10.8 Mbps in the busy hours, while those on ADSL services delivered just 7.7 Mbps.

NBN users also experienced fewer outages, lower latency and less packet loss than those on ADSL.

The next Measuring Broadband Australia report, to be published in early May, will for the first time compare how RSPs perform in streaming popular video content from Netflix and YouTube.

As it continues to expand the Measuring Broadband Australia program, the ACCC is seeking more volunteers. More than 2,300 Whiteboxes have now been distributed to volunteers across Australia, but more are needed to provide more detailed information on services used by consumers.

“Our volunteers have made a significant impact on the performance of Australia’s broadband, but we can only continue to bring more transparency to this market if more volunteers sign up,” Mr Sims said.

“We encourage customers of Dodo, iPrimus and MyRepublic, and anyone in new housing estates with fibre broadband services in particular, to host one of our test devices.”

Broadband customers can apply to be a volunteer at measuringbroadbandaustralia.com.au.

Notes to editors

The report shows the speeds data for NBN fixed-line service of eight major RSPs. Testing took place in November 2019 using a sample of over 1,200 volunteers on NBN and ADSL connections. Results are statistically significant with small sampling error.

See also

Measuring Broadband Australia report

Broadband speed information for consumers

More information: Measuring Broadband Australia

Fixed-line broadband customers can apply to be a volunteer by signing up at: measuringbroadbandaustralia.com.au

Background

In April 2017 the Federal Government announced that it would fund the ACCC to run 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.

Figure 1. NBN plan speeds delivered during busy hours and the busiest hour

Aussie Broadband +1.6%
Dodo & iPrimus +3.6%
Exetel +1.8%
iiNet +1.7%
MyRepublic -1.7%
Optus +2.3%
Telstra +0.6%
TPG +0.3%
Aussie Broadband +3.5%
Dodo & iPrimus +9.1%
Exetel +3.0%
iiNet +0.8%
MyRepublic -11.0%
Optus +2.5%
Telstra +0.8%
TPG -2.3%
Aussie Broadband -0.9%
Dodo & iPrimus +1.5%
Exetel -0.2%
iiNet -1.7%
MyRepublic +0.8%
Optus +0.5%
Telstra -0.3%
TPG -0.4%
  • Busy hours = 7.00pm to 11.00pm.
  • Busiest hour = Fifth lowest hourly average speed out of all the month's busy hours for each RSP. The busiest hour calculation method was revised in May 2019. Busiest hour results are not comparable with those published in Feb 2019.
  • = Benchmark level 60%.
  • +- Percentage point changes compared with previous quarter's measurements.
  • Percent of maximum plan speed.

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

  • indicates the boost to average speed if services not able to achieve maximum plan speeds were excluded from the overAll services. These services include NBN FTTN connections not capable of delivering 50 Mbps. If you are a customer on a service that does not deliver expected speeds, contact your provider to identify whether your connection could be fixed by a technician or if you can change to a different, likely cheaper, plan.

Figure 3. NBN and ADSL plan speeds delivered during busy hours by technology

  • All services
  • Potential speeds that could be delivered when excluding services that are unable to achieve maximum plan speeds
Release number: 
13/20
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