ACCC’s latest speed tests show serious FTTN NBN problems

Alex Kidman 6 February 2019 NEWS

Copper NBN services continue to degrade overall average evening speeds.

The ACCC has released its fourth Measuring Broadband Australia report, detailing the measured speeds of connections on the National Broadband Network. It's added new service providers to its testing matrix, including Dodo, iPrimus and Exetel, as well as breaking out the performance of different technology types for the first time. The report covers testing that took place in November 2018.

On average, users on NBN connections were able to access 84.3% of advertised speeds across all carriers, although this dropped to 82.8% for the peak evening hours between 7pm and 11pm. Performance was mostly comparable with the same speed tests for the previous report, with the exception of iiNet, where performance dipped 2.2%, and for Optus which registered a 0.1% increase.

Across the speed tiers, it appears that you'll be given more of what's advertised if you opt for the lower speed plans, with 25/5MBps plans typically provided with more of their speed capabilities as a percentage:

The ACCC's report notes that it does track "underperforming services", which it defines as those services that fail to meet even 50% of their stated plan speeds. If those figures were excluded, the above speed tier figures would bump up towards 90% across all tiers.

The ACCC's report highlights potential issues for Dodo and iPrimus customers, where the general availability scores of 80.8% across their NBN services would have risen to 87.9% without underperforming services. Across all NBN Retail Service Providers (RSPs), 7.4% of all tested services were reported as underperforming.

So where are the poor services coming from? According to the ACCC's report, it's largely on services utilising Fibre to the Node, where download performance is markedly less than for competing fixed line NBN technologies. Here's how the figures compare:

If you took the underperforming services out of the FTTN equation, the differences are truly marginal.

The reasons for underperforming FTTN connections can vary, depending on the quality of the internal copper in your premises, your distance from the nearest node and quality of the copper in that space, and of course ISP congestion issues.

If you're unhappy with your connection quality it's well worth chasing it up with your ISP to see if they can offer solutions. Rod Sims, ACCC Chair said that "We encourage customers who aren't getting the maximum speeds to contact their internet service provider to ask whether the problem can be fixed or about moving onto a cheaper plan."

Interested in a new broadband plan? You should compare your NBN options. You can compare plan choices based on the NBN technology available at your address in our NBN plan checker.

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