The latest report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s broadband performance project reveals that greater than one in 10 NBN services are categorised as “underperforming”.
The ACCC today released its sixth Measuring Broadband Australia report, prepared by UK company SamKnows using probes in volunteer households with NBN connections. Of the 1095 NBN services tested for the report, 12.5 per cent were categorised as underperforming: That is, even outside of peak usage periods they fail to achieve speeds that approach the wholesale speed tiers of the NBN plans consumers are paying for.
SamKnows categorises a connection as underperforming if in no more than 5 per cent of its speed tests during a reporting period it achieves faster than 75 per cent of the maximum plan speed.
The services significantly dragged down the average download performance for retail services providers (RSPs) in the report. With those services included, monitored NBN services achieved an average of 85.6 per cent of their theoretical maximum speed; excluding those services boosted that figure to 90.4 per cent.
Telstra and MyRepublic were the retail service providers most affected by the underperforming services, according to the report.
When it came to NBN technologies, fibre to the node was the worst offender. FTTN was also the fixed line NBN technology with the worst overall performance when it came to download performance.
Overall, FTTN services delivered 80.6 per cent of their maximum wholesale speeds; that figure jumped to 89 per cent if underperforming services were excluded. For fibre to the premises the figure was 90.8 per cent (91.6 per cent with underperforming services excluded), fibre to the curb 88.9 per cent (or 91.5 per cent), and hybrid fibre-coaxial 90.5 per cent (or 90.9 per cent).
ACCC chair Rod Sims called for “more action” from NBN Co and RSPs to address underperforming connections.
“In many cases, these limited speeds are caused by in-home wiring issues that can be fixed with a visit from a technician,” Sims said.
NBN Co has said its responsibility for a connection ends at the boundary for a premises, but in October last year the company launched a trial involving installing a central splitter in households to attempt to address sub-standard wiring.
The company’s CEO, Stephen Rue, said that installing a splitter delivered an average increase in attainable line rate of 11 megabits per second downstream and 3Mbps upstream, as well as improving stability substantially.