Home Telecoms & NBN Four big ISPs achieving good NBN speeds, says ACCC
Four big ISPs achieving good NBN speeds, says ACCC Featured

The first report from the ACCC's broadband monitoring programme shows that NBN services from iiNet, Optus, Telstra and TPG are achieving between 80% and a little over 90% of the maximum plan speeds during the busy evening period.

Busy hour speeds, between 7pm and 11pm, were only marginally below those at other times, the report, which is part of the ACCC's Measuring Broadband Australia initiative, found.

bband speeds

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said that testing of 25Mbps, 50Mbps and 100Mbps plans and ADSL services was done in February and March and looked at 400 NBN and ADSL services supplied by over 10 ISPs, and covering 61,000 individual download speed tests.

The results were statistically significant, including for the four largest retail brands named in the report, it said.

It found that three of the four major providers deliver download busy hour speeds between 88.1 and 90.7 per cent of maximum plan speed.

Fibre-to-the-node connections, which are the majority under the current rollout plan, could not support the maximum plan speed and brought down the average speeds overall, the ACCC said.

bband speeds2

“These first test results are better than expected, and indicate the majority of ISPs are now delivering very close to their maximum plan speeds,” 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.

“Our results reflect significant and recent changes in the market, particularly the recent discounting by NBN Co of capacity charges and consequent take up of more CVC by retailers. They likely also reflect the effect of our speed advertising guidance and anticipation that our testing was soon to begin.

“It is highly likely that just a few months ago these results would not have been anywhere near as good."

The programme was put in place in April 2017 when the Coalition Government said it would the ACCC to the tune of $6.5 million to carry out speed monitoring.

It monitors residential fixed broadband speeds, reaching a maximum of 4000 Australian homes in its final year and publishing results periodically throughout.

Thus far, the ACCC has more than 9000 potential volunteers for testing and a growing panel of more than 600 volunteers online in readiness for the testing in the next quarter.

Labor shadow telecommunications minister Michelle Rowland said these results were welcome, especially since the government had sat on an ACCC proposal for such a programme for 14 months before acting.

“After years of inaction by the Turnbull Government, it is reassuring to have the ACCC’s consistent leadership on this issue," she said. “It is a basic right for consumers to get the speeds they pay for.”

Teresa Corbin, chief executive of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, said: ‘Complaints about broadband speeds are at a record high. There is an obvious need for clear and accurate consumer information on what to expect from broadband services.

"The ACCC’s results make broadband speeds more transparent. This is important, because it helps consumers understand how services are actually performing, and gives them the tools they need to choose services best suited to their needs."

Corbin, who heads Australia's peak communications consumer organisation, added: "With this information, consumers in NBN’s fixed technology footprint can have more confidence in choosing NBN services provided by these top four retailers.

"It also gives consumers already connected more information to identify any problems they may be experiencing. However, we are concerned that about 5% of monitored connections are delivering lower than 50% of the advertised speed. We also need more information about other retailers noting that only 4 are identified in the ACCC’s report."

She urged the ACCC to expand its testing to include services in rural and regional Australia provided over NBN’s fixed wireless and satellite networks.

The Communications Alliance, a lobby group for the telco industry, also welcomed the results of the report.

“NBN Co and Internet service providers have been working hard and co-operatively on a range of fronts – technical, operational, customer care and financial – to deliver a high-quality broadband experience to Australian consumers,” chief executive John Stanton said.

“While it is important not to read too much into this first set of results, the generally positive report card from the regulator shows that industry’s efforts are bearing fruit.

“We understand that customer concerns remain in relation to some services and that more challenges will need to be met, but we are pleased to see this evidence-based report showing excellent delivery of speeds across the largest ISPs.”

Graphics: courtesy ACCC


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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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