The authors of a recent report forecasting what Australians will want from broadband speeds in the future may be wishing some of it was never published.
Back in March, we mentioned the Bureau of Communications and Arts Research (BCAR) had taken a shot at gauging future trends in bandwidth and connection speed demand in Australia.
Its report stated for the highest usage households, speed demand would increase from between 11–20 megabits per second (Mbps) in 2016 to between 20–49 Mbps in 2026. It also said households requiring speeds above this level will be very much in the minority.
Less than two months after its predictions were published, recent figures from NBN Co. show the number of Australian homes and businesses connected to higher speed plans has more than doubled. More than one million subscribers have upgraded their plans in the last four months.
The number of orders for plans over the network based on wholesale speeds of 50Mbps or higher jumped from 16 per cent in December to 37 per cent.
So, what was the magical thing that happened prompting so many Australians to opt for faster plans? NBN Co. says:
“The growth has been driven by the company’s ‘Focus on 50’ wholesale promotion, which provides retailers with discounted pricing on higher speed nbn™ plans as well as a 50 per cent boost of additional bandwidth.”
It seems the hesitation had nothing to do with a lack of need, awareness or desire for zippier connections, but the prior costs involved with fast NBN broadband plans that many apparently found out of reach.
The pace at which the internet and related businesses have evolved has caught many forecasters off-guard over the last couple of decades. What is certainly becoming apparent is that applications are becoming more bandwidth-hungry; so speed isn’t the only important consideration when Australians compare broadband plans.
The faster your connection is, the more data you’ll use. There’s not much point having the fastest connection in your street if you keep bumping up against the limits of your plan quota a couple of weeks into a monthly cycle – so residential and business demand for fast and unlimited broadband plans will only grow.
As for how Australia’s doing on the fixed-line broadband speed stakes globally, the Speedtest Global Index for February 2018 indicated Australia was ranking at no.56. The Index is based on millions of results from all over the world from Ookla’s SpeedTest application – it’s the application we’re now using here on Lightning Broadband.