Labor seeks access to NBN’s speed database

Labor seeks access to NBN’s speed database

Shadow communications minister Michelle Rowland has filed a freedom of information request seeking access to NBN’s database of estimated theoretical maximum speeds for households.

In the case of fibre to the node (FTTN) connections, the length of the copper loop connecting a household to a node as well as the condition of the copper can act as a hard limit on the maximum speeds achievable by an end user.

Additional factors, such as end-user equipment and the capacity commissioned by a retail service provider (RSP), can impact on the real-world speeds achieved by end users on the NBN.

Rowland issued her FOI request earlier this month.

The MP is seeking the release of the “NBN theoretical speeds database, which contains information about maximum attainable speeds over the Fibre to the Node network on a per-premise basis”.  

“The real-world performance of NBN connections can vary based on a wide range of factors including end-user equipment and the capacity commissioned by a retail service provider (RSP); however, those factors can generally be altered,” the request states.

A number of RSPs have previously indicated support for the release of the data.

Last month Department of Communications and the Arts assistant secretary Andrew Madsen told a parliamentary committee that NBN has a two-step process whereby initially it provides information to RSPs about the speed a particular line can supply, based on the technical information it holds on the line.

“[O]nce a customer is connected and an operating service exists, it provides updated information based on actual speed on the line, and both of those sets of information are provided to the retail service provider on a regular basis,” he said.

In May, Telstra, which dominates the NBN retail market, revealed that some of its customers on NBN plans were paying for speed tiers that they couldn’t achieve on their connections.

Approximately 1 per cent of Telstra’s NBN customers were affected, with the telco saying it would reimburse them.

Earlier today the head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, said he expects to launch court action against RSPs before the end of the year in connection to broadband performance claims.

The ACCC is preparing to launch a Broadband Performance Monitoring and Reporting program, and has begun seeking volunteer households  to participate. Sims also said that the organisation would launch a compliance sweep targeting claims about broadband performance in RSP advertising.

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