The rollout of the NBN has been "interesting". While early adopters of the originally planned FttH service have been happy with fast speeds, others who have been on the receiving end of the multi-technology mix have been subject to poor speeds, loss of services and poor technical support. This prompted the ACCC to take a more direct approach, launching a broadband speed testing program. The first results from that testing are in, and they suggest the recent legal actions and public comments are making a difference to broadband performance.
The ACCC tested the 25, 50 and 100 Mbps plans and ADSL services of service providers during February and March this year. The testing covered 400 NBN and ADSL services supplied by over 10 ISPs, reflecting 61,000 individual download speed tests. Looking at the four biggest ISPS, iiNet, Optus, Telstra and TPG, the regulator found the major players are delivering between 80% and almost 91% of the maximum plan speeds in the evening busy hours.
They also found that NBN 25Mbps plans, the standard to which NBN is instructed to build broadband services, significantly outperformed ADSL services. The average ADSL speed is 8Mbps compared with an average of 22-23Mbps for NBN 25Mbps plans.
One of the issues the ACCC noted was that FTTN connections that could not support the maximum plan speed were a factor that brought down the average speeds overall. But they expect averages will improve further as service providers act on court-enforceable undertakings and adopt the ACCC advertising guidance.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said “The results for some types of services are still lower than we would like, but the overall results go against the current wisdom that the majority of consumers and businesses are having issues with NBN speeds. The relatively high average speeds during peak periods indicate to us that retailers are now providing enough network capacity to meet demand in peak usage periods, including on the top speed plans.”
You can read the ACCC's full report for more information.