In a surprise to no one, more than 10 percent of Australian households connected to the NBN aren’t getting the speeds they’re paying for. Why? They’re connected to the NBN via inferior technology that might not ever be upgraded.

The ACCC’s Measuring Broadband Australia Report has been reviewing NBN speeds since 2017, and while most of NBN performs really well, there’s a segment that doesn’t – and the ACCC’s report is damning.

The 8th report in the series was released today, and it shows that 11% of Australians don’t get the NBN broadband speeds they’re paying for. Even though that figure is pretty poor, it is – surprisingly – an improvement – it used to be one in eight, instead of one in ten.

An NBN service doesn’t meet its advertised speeds if it can’t meet 75% of the advertised speed at least once in 20 measurements. That’s a pretty low bar, and that one in ten services is falling under it is amazing.

Given that two thirds of all NBN customers are on 50 Mbps or faster plans, those on a 50 Mbps plan which is underperforming are rarely if ever hitting speeds over 37.5 Mbps. For those on 100 Mbps tiers, they’re not seeing over 75 Mbps.

Of course, there’s lots of reasons services can underperform, but the overwhelming issue seems to be a particular connection technology – Fibre to the Node (FTTN). Of the 11% of underperforming services, a whopping 95% of them are on FTTN which uses copper to connect households to a Fibre Node up to 300 metres away from their properties.

Who’s responsible? FTTN came about thanks to the Coalition government in 2013, when it deemed the nation-wide FTTP rollout proposed by the previous Labor government was too expensive and would take too long.

There is some good news for FTTN customers, though. With the NBN build rapidly approaching its conclusion early this year, there’s the possibility it could use revenue in future to overbuild areas of particularly poor performance with a better technology, such as Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) or Fibre to the Premises (FTTP).

This seems, however, relatively unlikely.

Do you get your advertised NBN speeds at least once in every 20 measurements? Let us know in the comments.

    19 Comments
    newest
    oldest most voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments
    Jeff
    Jeff
    8 months ago

    Well we have had FTTN for well over 12 months plus, and it has performed exceptionably well, hasn’t miss a beat and given us top speed on a top tier plan.
    No complaints.

    NewyTorontoFella
    NewyTorontoFella
    Reply to  Jeff
    8 months ago

    I’ve just had FTTN connected in Newcastle suburb. In 2020! Most the suburb is FTTC but a few of us unlucky ones the NBN decided they couldn’t be f*ed. I’m 524m from the node, halfway down my street and get 87MBps. That’s pretty good right! .. except I’m halfway down my street. The poor c*nts further down (I’d say extra 300-400m) could be getting 30-40Mbps. As long as it’s over 25, right? But “it has performed exceptionally well, hasn’t missed a beat and given me close to top tier speed”. How about I go along with the typical Aussie attitude… Read more »

    Mathew
    Mathew
    8 months ago

    I have two suggestions:
    1. NBNCo should offer to upgrade connections to FTTP / FTTC for those willing to sign a 3 year contract at the higher speed.
    2. NBNCo should remove the speed tiers on FTTN and charge only the AVC price for the 25Mbps tier. This would advantage the many people who are paying for a faster speed tier because their line is capable of more than the next lower speed tier.

    Mathew
    Mathew
    8 months ago

    For the 85% on 50Mbps or slower the majority are better off due to LNP price cuts to CVC from Labor’s $20/month to $8/month.
    Reality is that most of that 85% would be on 12Mbps or possibly 25Mbps under Labor’s pricing regime.

    Rod
    Rod
    8 months ago

    I can certainly testify to the crappy fttn experience. I used to get 46 down, 18 up, day in, day out, for nearly a year. I know this because Google wifi does near daily speed tests. Aussie broadband NBN is awesome, I used to say. Then one day, just like magic, my speeds plunged to 28 down, 8 up. I’ve changed nothing in my house. My distance to the node is still 710m. Called my RSP like one would expect, and their hands are tied. They can see there is more noise, they suspect someone might have double jumpered my… Read more »

    EndlessTrail
    EndlessTrail
    8 months ago

    I count myself very lucky. Am on FTTN and consistantly get around 44mbps on a 50/20 plan. When I had a tech come in to sort out the initial connection problem, he told me that I could even go on the 100/40 plan and get good speeds.

    DDT
    DDT
    8 months ago

    Im on HFC and on 100 plan and even I’m only able to get 85+ on a good day and low 70 on most days…

    Fred
    Fred
    8 months ago

    NBNCo need to recognise publicly that they are going to have to rectify ALL FTTN to FTTC as a minimum. If they don’t then as 5G and Starlink come to town, people are going to dump their underperforming NBN connection like the steaming pile it is. Hell, many will jump anyway.

    Mathew
    Mathew
    Reply to  Fred
    8 months ago

    Starlink will solve the problem of SkyMuster for NBNCo, because customers will switch on mass if the cost is under $200/month. Fixed wireless services will also be under significant threat because 25ms latency is definitely usable.

    Starlink is probably the best news for NBNCo as customers on the most costly services will jump.

    Someone
    Someone
    8 months ago

    I am 700 or so meters from node. 50 mbps and getting 36mbps max. I asked isp to sort it and they said they can guaranty 25mbps but it will be paying same price as deal i am on is old.

    Craig McQueen
    Craig McQueen
    8 months ago

    That’s a good line to try with the boss. “I meet 75% of your expected performance level on 1 in 20 measurements. So, I’m a well-performing employee right?”

    That definition of “performing” is indeed a very low bar.

    JeniSkunk
    JeniSkunk
    Reply to  Craig McQueen
    8 months ago

    On that basis, in an employment situation, your boss would have you joining the ranks of the unemployed, immediately.

    Jack Bauer
    Jack Bauer
    8 months ago

    I’m currently on a Telstra cable plan and I’m being forced to upgrade to NBN in May because I’ve waited out for as long as possible.

    I’m shocked by the slow speeds and high price. NBN is a national disgrace. Shame on you Liberals…

    Chris
    Chris
    8 months ago

    We pay for 50 Mbps but get between 20 and 37Mbps. We are on NBN wireless.

    Steve
    Steve
    8 months ago

    I’m on FTTN but count myself lucky. Im only 270m from the node so have had reliable download speeds of 90mbps most of the time.

    AdamM
    AdamM
    8 months ago

    “FTTN which uses copper to connect households to a Fibre Node up to 300 metres away from their properties.”

    You underestimate the pitiful state of NBN FTTN, Chris. We are about 800m by road from our node, so probably 900m by cable. Hardly surprising we never see more than 34Mbps, no matter what we pay for.

    Dan
    Dan
    Reply to  AdamM
    8 months ago

    Yeah I’m about 1150m of cable according to the 12 or so techs I’ve had out to ‘fix’ my service… 400 dropouts a day and peak speeds of almost 20mbit, my ADSL exchange used to be closer 🤦‍♂️

    Someone
    Someone
    Reply to  Dan
    8 months ago

    You are more than 1km. Nbn say node needs to be less than 1km. Push them to replace yours with fttp.