The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released the results from its first broadband speed testing program.

The report revealed NBN broadband services from iiNet, Optus, Telstra and TPG are now delivering between 80 and just over 90 per cent of the maximum plan speeds in the evening busy hours.

The report, part of the ACCC’s Measuring Broadband Australia program, found these busy hour speeds (between 7 and 11pm) are now only marginally below typical speeds at other times.

“These first test results are better than expected, and indicate the majority of internet service providers are now delivering very close to their maximum plan speeds,” ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, said.

But the report also found five per cent of services tested operated at less than 50 per cent of their maximum plan speeds.

“The results for some types of services are still lower than we would like, but the overall results go against the current wisdom that the majority of consumers and businesses are having issues with NBN speeds,” Mr Sims said.

“The relatively high average speeds during peak periods indicate to us that retailers are now providing enough network capacity to meet demand in peak usage periods, including on the top speed plans.

“Our results reflect significant and recent changes in the market, particularly the recent discounting by nbn of capacity charges and consequent take up of more CVC by retailers. They likely also reflect the effect of our speed advertising guidance and anticipation that our testing was soon to begin.

“It is highly likely that just a few months ago these results would not have been anywhere near as good.”

nbn welcomed the results of the report saying the results reflected the positive impact of its work with internet providers, including the recent wholesale pricing promotion, which has seen bandwidth congestion on the fixed line network fall from an average four hours per week in 2017 to 12 minutes per week in February 2018.

Testing of 25, 50 and 100 Mbps plans and ADSL services took place in February and March 2018, and involved 400 NBN and ADSL services supplied by over 10 ISPs, reflecting 61,000 individual download speed tests.

Results are statistically significant, including for the four largest retail brands named in the report.

FTTN connections that could not support the maximum plan speed were a factor that brought down the average speeds overall.

The ACCC expects averages will improve further as service providers act on court-enforceable undertakings and adopt the ACCC advertising guidance to ensure customers are provided with plans that do not exceed the maximum attainable speeds of their individual connection.

“We know that there are customers who are not getting the speeds that are being advertised. We hope that the transparency and the regularity of our broadband speed reports will encourage all retailers to ensure their customers are getting what they are paying for,” Mr Sims said.

As the NBN rollout continues, the ACCC’s future reports will provide information on a broadening range of services, including a regional/metropolitan comparison.

The next reports will be out in the second half of 2018, with testing expanding to cover 2000 NBN and ADSL services by the end of 2018. 

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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