High speed NBN ‘underperforming’ for a quarter of consumers

High speed NBN ‘underperforming’ for a quarter of consumers

Those on 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps plans not receiving ‘anywhere near their full plan speeds’

Credit: NBN Co

A quarter of Australians on high speed NBN plans are being delivered an under performing service, a damning report by the consumer watchdog has found.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, many fibre to the node (FTTN) connections “still don’t come close to performing as promised”, while 25 per cent of users paying for 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps plans “still did not receive anywhere near their full plan speeds at any time”.

Broadly the figures from the ACCC’s Measuring Broadband Australia report revealed retail service providers (RSPs) are delivering more than 80 per cent of maximum plan speeds in the busy evening hours.

However, the watchdog’s chair Rod Simms claimed more action was needed from NBN Co and RSPs to ensure users access their full NBN plan speeds.

“This Measuring Broadband Australia data clearly shows that too many consumers with FTTN connections are not receiving the speeds they are paying for,” he said.

The report shows that, across all plans and connections, most RSPs improved their average download speeds over the three months from August to November 2019, including during the busy evening hours.

Performance across RSPs ranged from averages of 81.7 per cent to 90.8 per cent during all hours, and from 80.0 per cent to 89.9 per cent during busy hours. 

But, the report revealed a “substantial gap” between the highest and lowest-performing RSPs.

According to Simms, the results would have been between 1.4 percentage points and 6.2 percentage points better if issues causing poor performance on some FTTN connections, such as in-house wiring problems, had been addressed.

“Consumers with underperforming connections are encouraged to get in touch with their RSPs, and ask whether a technician may be able to fix their connection issues,” he said.

“Otherwise, they should be able to move to a cheaper plan with top speeds their connection can actually provide.”

Despite this, NBN services  outperformed ADSL services across a range of measurements, with entry level NBN 12 Mbps plans receiving an average download speed of 10.8 Mbps in the busy hours, while those on ADSL services delivered just 7.7 Mbps.

NBN users also experienced fewer outages, lower latency and less packet loss than those on ADSL, the report added. 

The ACCC flagged Vocus brands Dodo and iPrimus for showing the greatest improvement during busy hours, while only MyRepublic showed a decrease.

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