Netflix’s July figures confirm Aussie broadband as painfully slow

Alex Kidman 9 August 2016


Optus is marginally faster than its competitors according to Netflix, but Australian average broadband speeds are still incredibly slow.

Netflix offers up a monthly snapshot of its observed speeds for ISPs in the countries in which it operates. It does so to give a picture of how well individual ISPs cope with the strain of streaming potentially 4K content, because it’s well aware that one factor that could turn you off its services is if you’re constantly buffering programs rather than watching them.

July’s figures for Australian ISPs suggest that not too many of us are enjoying Orange Is The New Black in glorious 4K resolution. Indeed, although they’re an average, it looks like we’re all pretty much stuck watching everything on Netflix in standard definition, based on the figures for the top six ISPs.

PositionISPSpeed (Mbps)Previous monthConnection types
1Optus3.363.41Fibre, Cable, ADSL
2TPG3.163.19Fibre, ADSL
3iiNet3.123.17Fibre, Cable, ADSL
4Exetel3.053.09Fibre, ADSL
5Dodo/Primus2.882.85Fibre, ADSL
6Telstra2.322.48Fibre, Cable, ADSL

Nobody’s shifted positions from the previous month’s figures. In fact, they’ve all dropped ever so slightly from the previous averages.

What can I do to improve my Netflix connection?

Netflix presents its content using adaptive streaming if you’re watching over a fixed line connection. It has recently made lower-quality streams deliberately available for mobile connections if you don’t mind taking the quality hit, which is workable enough for a small screen but hardly desirable for larger screen at-home viewing.

The obvious answer for the at-home viewer should be "wait for an NBN connection", but the reality here is that these figures do include fibre connections that will be NBN connections, given that Netflix specifically separates cable out as a connection type. Hopefully as the NBN rollout continues, those figures should slowly creep upwards.

Optus may be sitting at the top of the Netflix charts, but the reality with those figures is that they’re all within SD quality ranges, and there’s just over 1Mbps differences from first to worst. Given its market dominance, Telstra could well be a victim of more averaging than its competitor ISPs too.

While the vast majority of Australians wait for an NBN connection, the simplest and most basic thing you can do to improve your Netflix experience is ensure that as few other devices are using your home broadband connection as is feasible.

You can’t control the connection cable between you and your local exchange, and you can’t control the usage of your neighbours (especially critical if you’re a cable ISP customer), but there are a few Netflix hacks you can use, including dialling back other usage while you’re trying to watch, which should limit buffering times. With a little luck, it might even tip you over the edge from SD to HD viewing, or for fibre NBN customers, maybe even into 4K viewing for Netflix’s small range of 4K content.

Picture: GongTo /

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