Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and hybrid fibre coaxial (HFC) NBN services delivered about 86 per cent to 87 per cent of maximum plan speeds at busy hours, compared to about 79 per cent for fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technology, according to the ACCC’s broadband speed test.
This is the first time the Measuring Broadband Australia report, prepared by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), is breaking down speed results by NBN technology.
The report noted that underperforming services, which represent about 13 per cent of all tested connections and are mostly FTTN, which never came close to delivering the maximum speed promised, because of either limitations with some FTTN lines, or connection issues such as wiring faults.
Furthermore the report indicated when underperforming services were removed, the results are comparable for all technologies, at almost 88 per cent.
“We expect NBN Co and retail service providers (RSPs) focus to remain on fixing speed-related problems and ensuring consumers receive good speeds on their current plans, regardless of which NBN fixed-line technology is supplied to them,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said in a statement.
An NBN Co spokesperson said it provides retailers with estimated attainable wholesale speeds prior to an order being placed for services delivered over the FTTN/B network, where it also provides weekly wholesale speed reports for each of their active services.
The spokesperson further added that NBN Co is only one link in the delivery chain, with many factors impacting the experience of end users including retailers who need to provision sufficient CVC, and hardware being used, as some modems offer better performance than others.
"We will continue to work alongside the industry to ensure we prioritise the customer experience of users on the network," the NBN Co spokesperson said.
This time around, the report included Dodo, iPrimus and Exetel, covering a wider range of price points, the ACCC said.
The report indicated that the majority of fixed-line NBN customers generally experienced good levels of service, but some customers saw a dip in speeds during the 30-day testing period.
Specifically, the ACCC said the performance of most RSPs remained steady across the busiest time period from 7pm to 11pm, but TPG and iiNet experienced a decline in download speed performance compared to the previous quarter.
During the busiest hour, when networks are under the pump, download speeds were significantly lower than at other busy times.
The performance of different RSPs in managing congestion ranged from 71.8 per cent of the maximum plan speed to as low as 48.3 per cent.
The drop in speeds could potentially be attributed to retailers migrating their customers to new wholesale NBN products, which were launched in October.
In November the ACCC revealed residential NBN connections were up almost 8.6 per cent during the past quarter, counting about 4.5 million residents, with half of them being on fast plans with speeds of 50Mbps or more.
Last year, the MBA report said TPG delivered an average download speed on the NBN of 88.7 per cent, making it the fastest internet service provider (ISP) tracked by the consumer watchdog.
TPG was followed by Aussie Broadband, who was number one in the previous report, iiNet, Optus, Telstra and MyRepublic.
In the latest report, TPG is the provider who offers the fastest download speed in busy hours, with 86.1 per cent, followed by Aussie Broadband with an average of download speed in busy hours of 84.8 per cent.
The report showed that 69 per cent of all tests continued to achieve download speeds of above 90 per cent of maximum plan speeds, while seven per cent of tests recorded less than 50 per cent of the maximum.