Surprise! NBN Speeds Held Up Fine During The Pandemic, According To The ACCC

Surprise! NBN Speeds Held Up Fine During The Pandemic, According To The ACCC
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At the beginning of the pandemic, those who could work from home learned that our new workspaces required a bit of adjusting to. And one of the major concerns? Just how our humble home internet connection would hold up to the demands of a work day. And now, we have the answer — at least when it comes to NBN speeds.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)’s long-awaited Measuring Broadband Australia report was released on Tuesday afternoon.

Released quarterly, the most recent edition was late to be released (as noticed by the eagle eyes here at Gizmodo.) But the ACCC has a pretty legit reason that dovetails into the heart of the new report: in case you didn’t notice, there’s a pandemic happening.

How did the pandemic affect NBN speeds?

Generally, fixed line NBN broadband services did pretty well. In fact, they performed so well — despite the increased workload — that the usually po-faced chair of the ACCC Rod Sims was positive about them.

“We have seen an improvement in download speeds for all speed tier plans and across all retail service providers (RSPs) during the period from May to June,” Sims said in a statement.

“Speeds are also similar to those seen prior to the pandemic, in spite of a prolonged surge in broadband demand as households and businesses practice coronavirus restrictions.”

Other than that, the report is a treasure trove of interesting findings about the current state of NBN speeds in Australia (that you can dig into here). Highlights include:

  • Average download performance was 88.5% of maximum plan speed, up from 86.7% the previous report.
  • Underperforming services (i.e. services that don’t reach anywhere near the maximum plan speeds ever) have continued to decrease from 9.6% to 8.1%
  • MyRepublic (5.4%) and iiNet (4%) had the biggest improvement in busy hour download speeds.
  • As pointed out by the Guardian’s Josh Taylor, fibre to the node download and upload speeds were significantly slower than any of the alternatives.

Now, there are a few reasons to be cautious about these results. In March, NBN Co began to temporarily provide more bandwidth to NBN providers in keep up with the demands of the pandemic. Before that, speeds had plummeted.

Plus, as part of the analysis, the ACCC excluded some WA data which may have contributed the pipping hot speeds.

So, will this last? You’ll just have to wait until the next quarterly report.

Fast NBN plans

And if you’re looking for some speedy NBN plans while stuck at home, here are some of the fastest in Australia right now.