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Telstra gives up on high speed promise for NBN FTTN, FTTB and FTTC customers

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The National Broadband Network’s multi-technology mix has long been criticised for delivering high-quality internet to some and poor-quality, 20th century copper connections to everyone else (and worse, some are stuck on satellite and fixed wireless).

The multi-technology mix has been responsible for appalling connection speeds, drop-outs and general customer dissatisfaction to the point that Australia’s consumer watchdog – the ACCC – has been going after providers that sign customers up to fast 100Mbps plans that their connections simply cannot deliver.

In light of this, Telstra has made the decision to cease the sale of high-speed NBN connections to those customers on FTTN, FTTB and FTTC connections. This means that the fastest 100Mbps (and above) plans will be restricted to customers on FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) and HFC (Hybrid fibre/coax) connections.

Everyone else will be stuck with a maximum of 50Mbps plans from Telstra, despite the fact that many FTTB and virtually all FTTC connections are capable of speeds well in excess of that limit.

“We have made a decision to only offer Premium speed (NBN100) on FTTP and HFC for the time being,” said a Telstra spokesperson. “The reason for this is because a number of our customers on FTTN/B/C do not have connections that are capable of achieving 100Mbps.”

In some respects, the decision is unsurprising. The latest ACCC report on NBN performance found that the majority of under-performing services were FTTN. There are significantly fewer connections over FTTB and FTTC with problems. Indeed, our home connection is via FTTC and our line speed is well over 100Mbps (though of course it’s shaped to that speed by our ISP).

However, Telstra wouldn’t know what a customer’s line is capable of until after they sign up. Telstra – like all other NBN providers – can access line diagnostics for their customers, allowing them to determine what speeds can actually be delivered.

Some providers use this to make recommendations to their customers as to the appropriateness of their plans given their connection speed; if you sign up for a 50Mbps plan but your line speed can handle 100Mbps, you may expect to be offered a higher speed. Equally, if you sign up for a 100Mbps plan but your line speed measures at 55Mbps, providers like Aussie Broadband will email you after signup and suggest changing your plan speed.

Why Telstra – one of the largest NBN providers – can’t do a similar thing is the natural question in my mind; why not offer 50Mbps plans at most, and – if a customer’s line can reach / exceed 100Mbps line speed – offer an option to upgrade that plan?

Instead, it’s opted for an easier one-size-fits-all approach, whereby no one gets those fast plan speeds unless they’re in one of the ~ 30% of properties covered by the FTTP or HFC footprints.

If you are:

  • an FTTN / FTTB / FTTC
  • contemplating Telstra, and
  • want plan speeds above 100Mbps

We recommend you consider an alternative ISP that will offer you these speeds and – if your connection can’t handle those speeds – will offer you something more suitable instead of making the decision for you. We recommend Aussie Broadband and Superloop as two great providers.

Just further evidence that the NBN – as built on the multi-technology mix platform – isn’t capable of delivering “fast” speeds to all; if one of our biggest providers has decided not to sell the fastest plans (noting that, in world standards, 100Mbps isn’t actually that fast) that’s a pretty damning indictment.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Wait! So I’m on a FTTN connection and I pay for the NBN100 and I’m lucky enough to actually get around 95Mbs. Are Telstra suddenly going to restrict my internet speed when there’s nothing wrong with it??

  2. Telstra snubs it’s nose at the customer base.
    This is another reason why I don’t have anything to do with them.

  3. Telstra are doing this because customers ordering 100Mbps are expensive to service because either:
    – they are heavy downloaders / demanding
    – they are technically illiterate and a few will complain about slow speeds

    Reality is Labor’s speed tiers mean the impact is <10% of the customer base and Telstra have probably assumed that by choosing Telstra they will probably accept a slower speed rather than look for a better deal.

    • What has Labor got to do with this ? it was clear why Tesltra is doing this and yet you throw all of that out and make your own decision.
      If you had of said “I suspect …” then yes, probably your thought process has merrit.

      • Labor is responsible for making the decision to add speed tiers to the NBN and that has been the root cause of slow speeds in Australia.
        If Labor had continued the then current practice on ADSL2+ of no speed tiers then we would all have 1Gbps connections today.

  4. I think that is a stupid decision. If a customer knows that the max speed that they are going to get is say 80Mbps but is willing to accept that and pay the fee then they should be able to get it.
    Telstra will lose current and future customers over this.

  5. Ha that’s why when my parents house switched over to NBN ( FTTC) and they are with telstra, no matter how many times I asked for them to be upgraded (100/40) they would just say yep no problem and then not deliver. What a farce. Moved to Aussie Broadband and they have been rock solid for two months. Ended up moving my parents to Aussie as well.

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