The Australian Competition and Consumer Condition has released the second edition of its Measuring Broadband Australia reports into the real-world speeds provided over connections to the National Broadband Network (NBN), warning that more must be done to improve services.
The regulator has now been expanded the audit to cover six major ISPs acting as NBN retail service providers – Telstra, TPG, Optus, MyRepublic, Aussie Broadband and iiNet.
In line with the first report, 70% of tests continued to achieve download speeds of above 90% of minimum plan speeds.
But there is considerable disparity in the performance between ISPs, with average speeds recorded during busy hours varying between 74.4% of maximum plan speeds (MyRepublic) and 88.3% (Aussie Broadband).
There is also not much disparity between speeds recorded during peak hours and off peak hours – for most ISPs the decrease was only around 1 percentage point.
But the report also found that “an important number” of nbn customers are still receiving poor service, including around 7% of consumers who are receiving less than half of the maximum speed promised in their plan.
While some factors influencing line speeds are out of the providers' control, such as the age and health of any legacy copper used in a customer's last mile connection, speeds also depend on the connectivity virtual circuit bandwidth purchased from state-owned NBN Co for each customer.
“Whilst we are pleased to see that most customers are able to get fast, reliable broadband services even during busy hours, we must focus our attention on those who do not have this experience,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.
The report found that if underperforming services – those that do not achieve speeds that approach the maximum plan speeds at any time of the day – were improved, there would be potential for speed results to improve by between 1.5 and 9.4 percentage points.