As if the progress of Australia’s NBN didn’t deserve enough criticism (albeit, largely leveled at its political masters rather than the delivery agency itself), the NBN Co has reported this week that, after a year of decline, it’s starting to see more connections using the lowest possible NBN speed tier.

In the latest Wholesale Market Indicators Report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reports that over the three months to September 30, 51,300 premises had connected via a 12Mbps plan, 19,400 signed up to 25/5Mbps plan, and 46,700 more premises connected with a 100/40Mbps plan.

However, these figures are dwarfed by new connections at the 50/20 Mbps speed tier (which is now, effectively, the standard offering) – some 385,000 new connections were made at this speed, and most of them were on the HFC network.

At the time of writing, some 2.1 million premises were connected on the two slowest speed tiers available – 12/1 Mbps and 25/5 Mbps. While it is good that the NBN provides speed tiers (and pricing) for those customers that really have no need today for faster internet, these speeds really are appallingly slow by 2019 standards. What we’d like to see is entry-level plans available at faster speed tiers, instead of selling these 1990s speeds to customers today.

The growth in such slow connections comes despite NBN Co advocating for the creation of more affordable, faster speed tiers – such as 100 / 20 Mbps plans, and 250 / 25 Mbps and 1000 / 50 Mbps plans (although those latter plans will likely be limited to HFC and FTTP connections for now, as no other technologies support it at present).

Let us know – are you on a slower NBN plan, at the 12/1 or 25/5 Mbps tiers? If so, what do you use your NBN connection for? Just a telephone? Casual use? Streaming content? Reach out and let us know!

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    I’m on FTTN and unfortunately can’t get 100/40. I’m on a 50/20 plan and only get 39 with frequent dropouts. I’ve never watched a Netflix show that didn’t buffer at some point and you can see the resolution go up and down. I’d gladly pay for a 1Gig plan if it was available, but it’s unlikely FTTN will ever be upgraded in my lifetime. I’m no fan of 4G/5G as I like wires, but it looks like I’m not going to have much choice.


    Frequent drop outs sounds like a line issue. Have you raised a case with your RSP?

    Piers Porter

    If you can record more than 5 dropouts per day in your modem logs, you should be able to get your ISP to report the fault to NBN. This happened to me, and eventually they got an NBN tech to replace the connection outside my townhouse. The difference was night and day, I went from lousy speed with frequent dropouts to a rock-steady FTTN connection with months of uptime.

    Mark adam

    Nbn what a joke .had broadband quicker than nbn
    Had to change to nbn ,Internet on and off phone disconnecting all the time .It took 6 months to finally get a semi decent service ,they had to double the speed at no extra cost so l had what l was paying for before nbn
    It took awile but get the telecommunications ombudsman involved

    Stewart Greenhill

    I am on a 50/20 plan, but FTTN connection only delivers about 33/8 at best, and frequently (randomly) drops down to about 20/5. Would make sense to downgrade to a 25 Mbps tier, but my provider doesn’t offer this option. Probably should shop around for a cheaper plan elsewhere.


    I can’t get a high speed so I have a lower plan. I wanted 100/40, then tried a 50/20, now I’m on a 25/5 fttn.
    I especially love my videos randomly freezing, and various pages on Chrome not loading, it’s fantastic.

    I can’t reach anything past 25 down, the nbn is a joke.


    Netflix should stream FHD in 8Mbps. Pages not loading on Chrome sounds like an underlying network connectivity issue which might be caused by your internal network, copper to node, congestion at NBNCo to RSP interface (PoI) or RSP network issues.

    Have you investigated the root cause of the issue? Having a professional review your internal network might help?


    I used to get between 60-70Mbps on cable service with unlimited data and no drop outs for $79/month was made to change to nbn and had to pay $100/month for unlimited data and only got 38-42Mbps unless I paid another $20/month for a speed boost let alone the constant drop outs sometimes for days at a time…. Well I ended up disconnecting it and now only use my mobile and the 60gb data I get on that


    Why is it that people accept quotas on mobile but not on NBN?
    If the NBN had quotas, then speed tiers could disappear.


    Been on the 12/1 plan for at least 4 yrs. No problems with the download speed. And I consider our family as relatively heavy users. Initially like a previous commentator my OneDrive/GoogleDrive would choke my downloads, I have limited via QoS upload to 950 mps to fix. We often steam Netflix and prime simultaneously.

    Andrew SOULBY

    Well I complaint to Telstra, as I’m on 50/20 and some 1200 metres from fttn node and can only provide 30/9 and I made a complaint throught TIO now I get a discount of $30 off per month for life of contract.
    Telstra and any of the providers who cannot provide 44Mbps to your door on 50/20 you’re entitled to a refund on the different.
    As they’re selling you short in the first place.
    So please my a complaint to TIO.


    Even though I live 2kms from a country town and have water, natural gas, electricity and a copper line that leads underground to my house, NBN in their infinite wisdom have deemed me too hard to reach via cable. I’m stuck with a Fixed Wireless service which is supposed to be 25/5 Mbps but is more like 6-8 Mbps at peak times. So I’m one of those statistics that deems me opting for a slower service but nothing could be further from the truth. I’d gladly pay for 100 Mbps but will never have it as an option. It seems… Read more »


    I am on the 12Mbps plan, on HFC, and I use it for streaming from Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime and Foxtel. It works fine, despite all the advice I was given on the speed I would need for streaming.


    Liberals should be held accountable for this. Anyone else spending peoples money and delivering a product in this way would face jail time.


    Should Labor also be punished for building a FTTP network with speed tiers and the expectation that close to 50% would be connected at 12Mbps in 2026 and less than 1% at 1Gbps?

    If speed was your benchmark, then the LNP changes to CVC pricing resulting in RSPs upgrading people from 25Mbps to 50Mbps for no cost should be considered a winner.

    Piers Porter

    Got a source for that? I don’t remember any of Labor’s FTTP policy predicting a 12 Mbps speed, nor a delivery of 2026.

    Tony Ross

    Well I would love to get at least NBN 50 but fiber to the node can only give be 25 and even these drops out frequently

    Mickey Mouse

    I signed up for 100mps on the NBN and only received 5mps. The NBN is already an expensive out dated technology. I’m currently using 4G and receiving 100 plus mps during the day and 20 plus mps at night


    A lot of these 12mb connections are a result of elderly customers being on a package deal. they only use the phone but are offered internet as a package to get unlimited calls. So when i go and activate a service they have no device to connect to the modem.


    Phone only customers would be better off with a mobile. Cheaper and more reliable.


    Not if you are over 80 and can’t use a mobile like my dad


    Pretty obvious. People concerned with speed adopted early and at higher speeds. People less concerned with speed (grandparents) waited until they had to convert over, and then did so at the cheaper plan. Hence slower speeds are weighted towards the later timeframe.


    Since when could we get 12/1Mbps in the 1990s? Whilst I understand that you are just trying to illustrate a point, this statement is just ludicrous. Do you remember dial-up and/or ISDN, and the speeds available? I could only get 3.5kbps on dial-up in the late 1990s and early 2000s until ISDN massively boosted my speed to around 64kbps. Even when ADSL became available, the maximum I could get was 3.5Mbps until around 2016, when I was finally able to get around 12Mbps… As I said, I understand your point, but wildly inaccurate statements like that completely remove any credibility… Read more »


    Mate I am on adsl2 as nbn still not available in my street and the fastest I have seen via speed check is 3.5mbps. I live 4.9km from the exchange and people 200meters away from have nbn but apparently my street, which is only 300meters long, is a no through road and has only 10 houses on it, apparently needs a major upgrade before nbn will be available. It’s an absolute joke. When I moved here 2 years ago I was told the nbn would be available September 2017. Now they tell me April 2020. I know a lot of… Read more »


    I’m only getting 3Mbps on adsl now, although that is to be expected @ 3.5kms from the exchange. 12kms from Sydney CBD the nbn build will not be completed here until July 2020, if then.

    Richard Rozendaal

    I’m on a 25 plan simply because my maximum potential speed is around 17. FTTN and it costs more than my old ADSL connection which topped out at around 14. 4g at my house runs about 45 with the same ping, so the NBN is going when the teen-ager leaves


    I’m on 50Mbps but paying less for 12Mbps is certainly tempting when FTTN only gives me 18-22Mbps…


    Got a 25/5 that got bumped by my ISP to 50/20 at no extra cost. Physical line is only capable of 27/6, with a cable length of ~900m from the node, so no point paying for a higher plan.
    Would happily pay for 100/40 or higher, but the $14k technology upgrade means I’d move to an FTTP-provisoned area first.


    If you are not renting then moving is probably false economy. $14k is almost certainly less than cost of stamp duty. On top of that you need to add real-estate agent fees.

    Bruce Bromley

    Hey Chris
    If you want a laugh, have a read of this
    I am chasse

    Simon Verhoeven

    Could it be that people are selecting the lower speeds because the connection they’re provided won’t handle the higher connection rates reliably? I know of people who sign up to faster connection speeds and the FTTN service will not provide the speed they signed up for so they elect to drop down to save money as they are not getting the speed they signed up for.


    For some people that is definitely the case, but a study of ACCC NBNCo Wholesale Market Indicators report shows little variation between the fixed line technologies.

    Secondly demand for speeds faster than 100Mbps is minuscule, even with AussieBroadband offering 150 & 250Mbps.


    My previous house had optus cable (50mbps), but moving one suburbs across left us with very slow ADSL (5mbps downloads, 200kbps uploads) so while being on a budget, when NBN came along, we moved to the same priced 12/1 plan.

    We can stream music and video concurrently, unless my OneDrive is syncing, then we have problems. Looking to upgrade, even to 25/5 for the 5x faster uploads, as its my entire photo library that’s hogging our network.

    Doll Dammit

    There’s nothing wrong with my 12/1 connection. It fulfils my needs perfectly. I watch Netflix, do my web browsing, banking, etc. I have no need for anything faster. And 12mbps is not 1990’s technology. Back then we had 56k modems. ADSL just started to arrive after the turn of the century.

    Michael Czajka

    We’ve moved from 100/2 Mbps cable to 50/20 Mbps NBN because the 100/50 NBN plan was about $30 more expensive. That means we’re paying more for an upload speed that is 10x faster. What’s happened to the 1Gbps plans we were promised? Actually it’s not as bad as we feared. We’ve only had a few outages on the NBN… the longest one being 20 minutes… and that was weeks ago. Since then it’s been behaving itself. Furthermore the download speeds seem to have increased despite the speed reduction. Go figure? The ping times on NBN are 1/3 of that on… Read more »


    NBN refuse to let me connect to the FTTN in the street, despite my neighbours (same copper line length as me) getting a full 100MBPS sync. I’m told that “satellite is the appropriate technology for my home” and have tried for 6 months to get that looked at unsuccessfully

    With no 4g coverage at my house, I’m stuck on 10MBPS ADSL for the foreseeable future 😦

    So much for the NBN providing for my children’s future!


    It’s more likely they are on fttn and are getting such garbage speeds (in my case worse than the dsl2+ I had previously) they are dropping the plan to match the maximum speed nbn can provide. So many people on fttn and so many not getting this supposed 25Mbpd guarantee. Total dud.


    Technicians had to repair our FTTN line just so it could barely reach 12/1 most of the time, so we’re on that plan because that’s all we can have.


    The so-called Fibre To The Node (FTTN) – which is essentially old copper cables connecting to a hotbox on the street – is so appallingly bad that it’s best not to sign onto it at all.

    It is so slow that it can’t be used for modern day activities. It is a scam to name this as the ‘National Broadband Network,’ as it’s not broadband.

    You’re better off getting a 4G or 5G wireless data connection, to avoid the pain of FTTN.


    > FTTN … is so appallingly bad that it’s best not to sign onto it at all.

    Reality differs with your bias when you consider two facts: average speed on FTTN is 68Mbps and >85% of Australians are ordering 50Mbps or slower.

    > You’re better off getting a 4G or 5G wireless data connection, to avoid the pain of FTTN.

    However those plans come with data quotas and most Australians don’t like those.


    Grandparents exist.


    I’m actually not so much outraged by the speed on the slowest plan, more so just the price of it.

    For some households, and probably not many of them are Ausdroid readers, it’s all about the cost. It’s easy for us who are doing okay to lose sight of that sometimes.

    For pensioners, especially those who live alone, the lowest speed is all they can afford.


    Why did the government spend tens of billions of dollars of public funds when they charge above-market rates to use it?


    Pensioners are a great example of those people who could benefit from 100Mbps or faster. At this speed a family group chat in front of the TV becomes possible. Quality and effectiveness of remote consultations with health care professionals improves care significantly. Those with mobility challenges can remain connected.

    However pensioners aren’t going to pay $40/month for faster speeds. We might give our parents a nice video conferencing kit for Christmas, but are much more unlikely to commit to paying for a monthly connection.

    Ben Dollisson

    100% price is a factor. Not all households have expendable income to throw 80 plus dollars a month at fast internet.

    We have the 12/1 on iiNet as that’s what we can afford. Yes the 50mbps is only $10 per month more but we just dont have it spare. Absolutely appalling that a first world nation like Australia is made to pay over 60 per month for half decent internet speeds.

    Jeni Skunk

    What sort of monthly download limits on that price in Europe, Chris?

    Jeni Skunk

    Thanks Chris.
    With the monthly download limits that have been the standard here since the days of dial-up, I figured it’d be worth checking.
    That cheap price, for actual FTTP, with unlimited downloads, on top of the fast symmetrical speed, really emphasises how pathetic the Notional Fraudband Notwork is, and how it will only serve to hobble Australia for the future.


    > “While it is good that the NBN provides speed tiers (and pricing) for those customers that really have no need today for faster internet” WRONG, SO VERY WRONG. It has been stupid from day one that the NBN had speed tiers, because as Labor correctly predicted most Australians simply cannot see value in paying for faster speed tiers. In an alternate universe, Labor would have set a cheap flat rate ($20/month) for 1Gbps NBN FTTP connection and many more people would have connected. Unlimited plans would be rare and expensive, but off peak quotas would be large. LNP were… Read more »


    It’s a farce that the NBN even offers 12Mbps plans.

    12Mbps is slower than ADSL. It defeats the purpose of the NBN existing at all.

    Years ago I lived close to a telephone exchange. My ADSL2+ was tested with a download speed of 19Mpbs. Now, after most of $100 billion has been spent, then NBN offers 12Mbps?


    You can thank Labor for 12Mbps speed tiers. Labor in the NBNCo Corporate Plans predicted that close to 50% would be connected at 12Mbps in 2024.

    You can thank the LNP for bundling CVC with AVC making 50Mbps the most profitable plan for RSPs to sell.

    Phillip Edwards

    Chris, it sounds like you may have been spoiled with great connection speeds. Where I am (Sydney suburbs) there is no NBN yet. Up until a couple of years ago I was on ADSL getting 2-3Mbps max which was awful. The reason it was so slow is that my suburb is stuck slap bang in between two exchanges – 5km away from each. This wasn’t 1990s, it was 2 years ago. So then I moved to Optus cable where I now get 30Mbps and it serves our needs just fine for video streaming and general internet. 25Mbps (not far from… Read more »


    30Mbps is barely adequate to watch a streaming movie at 4K resolution.

    Such connections are designed for a bygone era, when they had no 4K video. Designed with yesterday’s uses in mind.


    That is one thing I have never understood is why the NBN and so rsp’s don’t offer synchronous connections? It is as if their advisers don’t realise that uploading is as much if not more important now and in the future especially for those who want to work from home. Also if telehelth is going to take off the ability to talk to you doctor in 4k is a must too.


    For the small difference we got with nbn which i suspect in some cases may actually be slower than some people’s old broadband set up s , it is hard to see the value for all the billions spent by the Australian tax payer for an already out dated system. We have the unlimited fastest speed plan. i would say lag wise , it is marginally better than the old broad band it replaced which was pretty lack lustre . To my mind iit s still rubbish , we still get times when pages freeze up for 20 or 30… Read more »