Finder to the Node: Are mobile connections really overtaking the NBN?

Alex Kidman 15 May 2019 NEWS

Finder to the Node May 15 2019 Image: Getty Images

Lots of mobile services, but actual data flows more freely on fixed lines in our round-up of the week's NBN news.

Mobile numbers are growing, but data is still king on fixed lines

The ACCC's Internet Activity Report makes for interesting reading in the concluding stages of the rollout of the National Broadband Network.

One of the most frequent criticisms of the NBN has been the idea that mobile technologies will usurp the need for fixed lines, with technologies such as 5G touted as the eventual endpoint. These assumptions generally ignore the shorter range of 5G towers and the reality that any telco will tell you, that a 5G tower generally needs a fixed line cable behind it.

Still, a brief glance at the ACCC's figures might seem to support that kind of assumption, with a reported 24.3 million mobile services active as of December 2018, compared to only 7.2 million fixed line services.

However, the real detail here is in the quantity of data used. We might be reaching for those mobiles in our pockets more frequently, but when it comes time to hit the Internet for some sweet, sweet data, it's on a fixed line connection by an immense margin.

How immense? Take a look:

Mind you, the report also notes that while we're sucking down data at immense rates, we're generally doing so on connections that are slower than you might think, given NBN Co's figures on the quantity of 50MBps or better plans being sold these days.

According to the ACCC's figures, 61% of all broadband connections (excluding mobile handsets) are at 24Mbps or less, followed by 25% sitting between 24Mbps and 50Mbps, 8% between 50Mbps and 100Mbps and just 5% sitting above 100Mbps.

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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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