Australia’s NBN users experienced generally improved speeds on fixed-line services during February says the ACCC, but some still aren’t getting what they paid for.
In its fifth performance report for the Measuring Broadband Australia program, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission states users on NBN connections received an average download performance of 85.4% during all hours, dropping back a little to 84.7% during the busy hours (between 7pm and 11pm). This was an improvement of just over percentage point from November 2018’s all hours result, and close to two percentage points improvement compared to November’s busy hours result of 82.8%.
The ACCC says some NBN users continue to experience underperforming services that never achieve close to the maximum advertised plan speed that they paid for, and this is dragging down overall download speed results.
While a minority are affected, it’s not a small percentage. The Commission says the issue impacted 13 per cent of volunteers in the Measuring Broadband Australia program, including a quarter of Fibre-To-The-Node (FTTN) services on plans with a maximum speed of 50 and 100 Mbps.
“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,” said ACCC Chair Rod Sims.
Another significant issue for FTTN users has been comparatively high latency (ping), which is a measure of time delay from one point of a network to another. Even if a connection’s speed is good, high latency can be problematic in applications such as gaming. If you’re curious about your own download/upload rate and ping performance, try our broadband speed test.
FTTN is a technology where the existing copper phone line from a nearby fibre node is used to make the final part of the connection to the NBN network. FTTN has been a dirty word (or more accurately, acronym) for some for these reasons. Back in 2017, the Joint Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network said it believed much of the FTTN work already done to that point will likely require substantial upgrading in the short term.
The latest Measuring Broadband Australia report can be downloaded here.
Study: NBN Update “Inevitable”
In other recent NBN-related news, researchers from the University of Sydney and Arizona State University claim 40-60% of homes in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane only have access to what is now very old technology: hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC).
According to NBN Co., HFC is used in situations where the existing ‘pay TV’ or cable network can be utilised in the final part of an NBN connection and is run from the nearest available fibre node to a user’s premises.
“For people in these residences, access to the so-called “fibre network” remains only a fairy tale,” state the researchers. “We argue that for Australia and Australian major cities to be competitive on the global platform, an NBN update is inevitable.”
… and that will cost a bundle.