Finder to the node: The sad state of Australia’s broadband speeds

Posted: 1 May 2019 9:01 am

Finder to the Node 1 May 2019 Image: Getty Images

We are not enjoying a new age of super-fast broadband according to the latest global statistics.

Australian broadband is improving — but we're still slow

There's an old adage about being able to prove anything with statistics, and this week's release of the latest Ookla Speed Index figures for worldwide broadband speeds provides a fine example.

On one hand, average Australian Internet speeds as measured by Ookla's Speedtest app suggest that we've seen an uptick from 28.3Mbps to 35.11Mbps over the last 12 months. More broadband speed is generally a plus, right?

However, the issue here is that we're now well below the global average of 57.91Mbps for fixed line broadband and slipping further down the global ranks.

Put simply, while our average speeds have improved slightly, the rest of the world is gearing up its fixed line broadband speeds at a faster rate than we are. Australia is currently ranked 62nd in the world, three places down from the same time last year.

However, it's not the same story for mobile broadband, where our average 58.87Mbps download figure places us fifth in the world. Mobile broadband relies on fixed fibre to maintain speeds over larger population swathes, so there's no easy fix there.

Telco scams target NBN again

If you get a call from "NBN Co" offering you a refund for poor Internet service, it could be tempting to take them up on the deal. After all, there are countless stories of folks not getting the service quality they'd expect over the national broadband network.

Except, well... no.

NBN scams are rife again, with 9News highlighting the case of a Western Australian man who was promised a $300 refund due to Internet connectivity issues. It was a scam, sadly, with criminals gaining access to his bank account and robbing him of $10,000 once they had his banking credentials.

It's worth remembering that NBN Co is the company tasked with building Australia's national broadband network. Australian consumers connect to the NBN network, but NBN Co will never contact you regarding financial matters. Your contract is with your Internet provider, and even there it pays to be cautious if you get a call out of the blue.

It comes in a week when the ACCC has highlighted just how much Australians lose to scams annually, to the tune of around half a billion dollars in the last calendar year. There's no distinct breakout category for "NBN" scams in the ACCC's figures, but it'd almost certainly fall under the "false billing" scam category, for which Aussies were stung at least $5.5 million in 2018.

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Finder to the Node is a weekly round-up of all the latest news surrounding Australia's complex National Broadband Network.

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