Maybe the snail is an exaggeration, but while Australia’s broadband speeds are getting better, those of other nations are improving more – leaving us even further behind.
You’ll need to scroll a long way down Ookla’s* latest Speedtest Global Index for January 2019 to see where Australia is ranked for fixed broadband download speeds. We’re now at position 60, which is 5 spots lower than December 2018.
Ahead of Australia are countries including Paraguay, Estonia, Barbados and Thailand. Our cousins across the ditch New Zealand are ranked 23. The leading countries are Singapore (197 Mbps), Hong Kong (169 Mbps) and Iceland (159 Mbps). Australia managed an average download speed of just 33.28 Mbps.
It’s a different story when it comes to mobile broadband – Australia stacks up very well; currently ranking at no.6 with an average download speed of 56.7 Mbps – that’s around 70% faster than the average fixed broadband speed.
Fingers are being pointed at the Multi Technology Mix (MTM – also sometimes referred to as Mixed Technology Mongrel) approach taken for the NBN, which has seen many Australians winding up with FTTN (Fibre To The Node) instead of FTTP (Fibre To The Premises) or FTTC (Fibre To The Curb) connections. With FTTN, existing copper phone and internet lines running to a home are connected to a fibre node, which may be some distance away from the premises.
In comments to the Herald Sun, Federal Shadow Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said (paywall):
“On every measure taxpayers and consumers are worse off as a result of an NBN that is regrettably slower, costlier and less reliable.”
The Federal Government has had little to say regarding the results, while NBN Co has apparently chosen to focus on the improvement on speed and other progress over the last year, something that was also recently acknowledged by the ACCC (with some reservations).
Still, it’s an online world and Australia struggling with fixed broadband speeds isn’t a great thing for our global standing on the communications technology scene. While there may not be many applications for the average user that require crazy-fast speeds like Singapore (and for that matter, Lightning Broadband) offer – they won’t be far off.
*Ookla’s application is the platform used for Lightning Broadband’s internet speed testing service – check your connection’s performance now.