Home Telecoms & NBN Many premises cannot even attain minimum NBN speeds: claim

Many premises cannot even attain minimum NBN speeds: claim

The Australian Labor Party has questioned whether the government has referred the problem of some NBN users being unable to obtain the maximum possible speeds currently available from retain service providers — 100/40Mbps — to the competition watchdog or not.

Three in four premises served by the fibre-to-the-node technology — the technology which will be provided to most residents — will be unable to attain the top speeds, it emerged recently.

Labor's Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said this meant that about 6.8 million Australians would be using technology by the time the rollout was completed.

"Beyond maximum speeds, the NBN Co has also revealed that 6% of premises already connected over copper are unable to achieve even the minimum speed of 25Mbps," she said.

"This figure suggests that over the course of the rollout up to 210,000 premises may not be able to achieve minimum speeds until either expiration of the 18-month migration window, remediation, or potentially replacement of their copper line."

Rowland said that when the government was asked what residents who were in this group could do to have their problems investigated, Communications Minister Mitch Fifield replied: "That’s an area where we expect the ACCC to investigate. I have written to the ACCC asking them to investigate such cases."

But when the ACCC was later questioned by the Senate Economics Committee, it denied that the government had made any such request, adding that in any case it was not responsible for investigating such complaints.

Rowland said, "the all-too-familiar vacuum of accountability, process and oversight under (Prime Minister) Malcolm Turnbull has created conditions where consumers unable to achieve 25Mbps are left stranded and face an excruciating and often uncertain process to get their copper line fixed.

"It's bad enough (that) three in four premises can't achieve top speeds over copper, but it’s simply unacceptable that there are many who can’t even receive minimum speeds once they are connected.

"Malcolm Turnbull cannot keep kicking his copper can down the road. He needs to step up and take responsibility for his NBN mess."

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.