nbn speeds slowly improving: ACCC

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 07 May, 2019

nbn speeds slowly improving: ACCC

Average speeds over the nbn are showing signs of continued improvement, but more work needs to be done to ensure consumers are achieving the speeds they are paying for, according to the ACCC.

Speed tests conducted by the regulator during the month of February show that users on nbn connections received an average download performance of 85.4% of their maximum plan speeds, falling to 84.7% during the busy hours of 7 pm to 11 pm.

The results, compiled in the ACCC's latest Measuring Broadband Australia report, show an improvement from the 84.3% all hours result and 82.8% busy period result during the last tests in November.

The top performing nbn retail service provider (RSP) was TPG, with average download speeds of 89% of the maximum during all hours and 88.3% during busy hours.

The most improved retail service providers were Exetel (85.6%/85.2%) and the Vocus Communications owned brands Dodo and iPrimus (83.5%/81.8%), which were all included in the report for the first time during November.

The lowest performer remained recent market entrant MyRepublic (82.6%/81.9%), with practically no change in speeds since November. But Telstra (82.9%/83.5%) was not far behind despite its superior resources.

Meanwhile, despite the ongoing action by nbn co, RSPs and the ACCC to address issues with underperforming services, 13% of volunteers in the speed test programs — including one in four users within the fibre-to-the-node footprint of the network on 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps plans — continue to experience services that never achieve close to their maximum advertised plan speed.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims said the results demonstrate that the industry has more to do to address this persistent issue.

“RSPs need to continue to monitor their networks to ensure their speed claims are realistic, and we expect NBN Co and RSPs to work harder together to help consumers achieve the speeds they are paying for,” he said.

“We will be watching to see how companies respond to customers who aren’t getting the advertised speeds on their current plans, and we will act on misleading speed and performance claims made by providers. Consumers should also ask whether their service could be being affected by in-house wiring issues, which in many cases can be remedied through a visit from a technician.”

For the first time, the ACCC’s report also includes data on the frequency of outages on nbn services for the major retail service providers. The results found that customers of most retail service providers experienced an average of under 0.5 outages lasting over 30 seconds per day.

The major exception was Optus, which had an average of around 1.5 outages per day.

Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said, “The positive performance against advertised speeds has been consistently demonstrated by the ACCC’s data over the previous four reports, and we welcome the ACCC’s inclusion of this important metric in today’s report.”

According to the Alliance, the reporting of performance against advertised speeds would be improved if it took account of underperforming lines, the inclusion of which depressed the results of some providers.

Stanton added, “We are pleased to see that consumers are receiving further improvements in speeds delivered. All elements of the broadband supply chain are committed to working together to continue this trend.”

Image courtesy NBN Co.

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