Just before Christmas, when the media was mostly focused elsewhere (including NSW’s own COVID outbreak), the government made the somewhat surprising announcement that the National Broadband Network rollout was “built and fully operational”.

Of course, we knew better, but ran with the story anyway seeking some of your feedback on your experiences with the NBN. Perhaps unsurprisngly, that feedback really wasn’t all that good.

We’ve had some 40+ comments on the story, mostly telling tales of how the NBN has left various readers behind either completely, or by delivering a fairly lacklustre service at best.

Long-time reader Sujay told us that he’s lived in an NBN FTTN area for some time, and that he’s likely to be eligible for a free/discounted FTTP upgrade in the next year or so as part of the recent fibre network expansion:

Currently, my FTTN NBN can only manage a maximum speed of 52Mbps. Fortunately my suburb was one of the lucky ones to be announced (in September) as being moved to FTTP. I just hope they don’t skip my street. But knowing my luck, they most likely will.

Many users told us that despite being connected to the NBN, they struggled to get decent speeds. Many told us of speeds worse than the decades old ADSL1 standard, which is really shocking in 2020:

  • Dave M doesn’t live far from a CBD, and can’t get more than 10mbps speed on a 50mbps plan.
  • Brian lives in a capital city and can get around 40mbps on a FTTN connection. It’s improved recently, but only a little.
  • Alex has a maximum line speed of 16mbps which drops out a number of times a day. Alex was quoted $25,000 to upgrade to FTTP.
  • Jim has a 50mbps NBN plan, and struggles to get 5.5mbps, just over 10% of what his plan should deliver.
  • Terry from Toowoomba can’t get NBN at all, and makes do with ADSL2 at just 3mbps on a good day.
  • Leo can’t get more than 28mbps, and Richard from Lexton VIC can only get NBN satellite, and has opted to stay on ADSL for now with a woeful 1mbps connection.

Richard isn’t alone; there are others who’ve told us they’ve stuck with ADSL instead of going to oversubscribed NBN Fixed Wireless, or worse on NBN Satellite. Others have ditched NBN and fixed line completely and opted for a 4G solution.

Reader Paul moved from a dreary slow NBN connection at just 4-12mbps to a 4G connection which delivers a constant 40mbps or more. Smart move! Duncan lives in a fibre-served apartment, but uses 4G and will move to 5G soon for a better service.

Klaus from Pymble NSW – a fairly affluent suburb on the north shore – doesn’t have NBN and won’t for another six months or so. He uses Optus 4G at home but speaks of having had better Internet options in Africa many years ago. He’s not alone in thinking Australia’s internet offerings are pretty embarrassing.

Probably the most surprising anecdote was that from Michael, who lives just 36km from Sydney’s CBD and the only option available to him is NBN Sky Muster, which can be very expensive for much lower data inclusions, and it’s slow / laggy to boot.

It’s all well and good for the government to say the NBN is built .. but the experience of every day Australians tells us that it’s far from complete, and even in places where it is supposedly built, the real-world speed, reliability and experience are far from where they should be.

Those in fibre to the premise areas (and, to a certain degree, HFC and FTTC) should be very grateful that their experiences are mostly pretty damned good. Those stuck with FTTN, FTTB and worse, satellite and wireless, are seemingly having a much worse time of it.

It’s just about 2021; we deserve a better national broadband network than this.

 

 

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    Ben S

    Before NBN CO took down the calculator for the technology choice program I was quoted just under $15,000 to upgrade to FTTP. I had a look at the “FREE” installation option under enterprise Ethernet and was quoted a minimum spend of $32k over a 3 year contract… Our internet is a joke! Can’t wait until they actually finish the NBN rollout… I can only assume the above story is some early April fools joke nine of us are laughing about. “Update Thank you for your interest in the nbn™ Technology Choice program. Due to the high volume of interest for… Read more »

    Sam

    I live in Northern NSW and have a huge hit and miss when it comes to connectivity around the area. I also work with an IT MSP whom sells NBN so I have frequent experience provisioning and dealing with issues. Myself personally I live in a new estate where my section of the street was chosen with Fttn and my next-door has FTTP. I am about 800m away from node and get around 65mbps. not bad but not great knowing that less than 50m next door can get a gigabit connection, I was quoted 15k to upgrade. But we also… Read more »

    Rod

    I lived in rural NZ for a few years. Initially, fibre hadn’t been rolled out down my street, so they gave me VDSL.

    I had speeds around 130/130.

    When fibre came I averaged 750/200 up.

    I moved house and again had fibre with similar speeds.

    I come back to this Australian dog’s breakfast.

    It’s shameful

    Please don’t say NZ is smaller. It’s about the size of the Australian East Coast and if you’ve seen the terrain these guy’s have to work through, you’d all the more be disgusted with the NBN.

    Rod 🙃

    Danny Christensen

    I am on a 100mbs telstra cable. The cable will be stopped in september 2021 and I have to migrate to FTTN utilising 80year old copper wires. The present plan is $70 pm for unlimited data. The inferior copper wire plan will cost $75pm for 500mbps with only 25mbps download. Total injustice

    Kim

    I can’t believe the LNP would screw over the country people so badly. Any town not large enough for a profit has been completely left off the wired rollout. Even towns that would need only one or two nodes are stuck with sky muster or telstra adsl until someone changes the town size threshold.

    Matthew

    Finishing the NBN wss easy

    Filter by “unfinished”
    Select “all”, ctrl-x
    Open “Skymuster”
    Ctrl-v

    Done.

    Come on Elon, make Starlink available in Australia soon.

    Russ

    A very happy FTTP customer, been so for ~7 years (lost count its been so long), started on a 100/40 plan and got 98/39 out of that. Since migrated to 1000/40 and getting 940/36 out of that. All day, Every day. I feel for anyone who gets FTTN or worse and is expected to put up with it, or pay some ludicrous 25k for upgrading to FTTP (which entitles all ur neighbours to ‘your’ upgrade). Way to slowly but surely ruin what potentially could’ve been a wonderful product. In my case, I bought the house, as I’m never leaving my… Read more »

    John Crowe

    Gone from intermittent drop out 5 to 10 or more times a day lasting 2 to 5 minute to hard down just before we left home for a break. NBN has been hiding behind COVID, their excuse for no action. No idea if they have done anything, no communication at all. Did have 45mps on 50/20 for sometime but recently down to a very consistent 12 to 15mps. Piss weak NBN
    Bendigo Telco have done as much as they can, NBN is the road block

    O Ward

    I’m about 30km from Coffs Harbour and whilst the NBN promised fiber into the town, they’ve created completely arbitrary lines to divide the service between using existing lines into the premises or in my case fixed wireless. I’m lucky and have a reasonably clear line of sight to the tower but i definitely don’t get the advertised max speed of 25mbps. It’s mostly fine for streaming etc, but downloads are obviously noticeably slower than when i lived in Sydney and paid less for a faster connection directly to the house. I live with the hope that they’ll find a way… Read more »

    Last edited 11 months ago by Oliver Ward
    Paul Warner

    Politicians have a habit of releasing this sort of stuff about Xmas at the same time there is a major distraction like Covid going on. They hope the MSM doesn’t pick it up too much and doesn’t analyze it and see it for the mess it is..

    Matt

    Also the Murdoch media is not particularly interested in criticizing the very thing that might end it pay tv monopoly.

    Alister

    What a lot of people on FTTN that experience a low sync speed is due to the sub par wiring in their homes. Remember we have a load of homes that were constructed (or later installed) with multiple phone points (prior to the rise of cordless landline phones). Multiple phone points absolutely kill your FTTN sync speeds. My downstream sync speed went from 8mbps to 21mbps once I had two spare phone points disconnected. Many people don’t know this and just cry crappy NBN when if they were aware that the issue may be directly in their home and out… Read more »

    Chris

    I’m glad I live in Japan with my decade old broadband connection that tops out at 187 mbps wifi and 270 mbps cable. I pay around $35 a month for it and unlimited downloads. 20 years ago, Australia was ahead of Japan but they quickly moved pass us.

    JeniSkunk

    What we _DESERVED_ was a not partisan politicised communications network, with a solid upgrade path for the future.
    What we got, after Labor was voted out, was a partisan politicised assault, hell bent on wrecking everything Labor had come up with to improve the Nation, solely because they were Labor launched projects.
    EVERYONE who has to pay for a proper FTTP NBN connection to replace a sub-third-world NFN connection, needs to bill the LNP, because it was the actions OF the LNP which caused the expense.

    Joshua Hill

    I tend to be more to the left politically but one thing most people fail to mention, K.Rudd lied to the Australian public about the NBN. It was always meant to be public infrastructure. There was no way to privatise it profitably the way it was designed. If K.Rudd had been up front with the Australian public we might not be in this mess now, on the flipside we mightn’t have an NBN.

    Whatever the case you can’t lay all the blame on one party

    sujayv_au

    I think you are missing Jeni’s point. K.Rudd may have lied but we were all going to get FTTP. Instead we are left with this mess whereby FTTN, FTTB, Wireless and Satelite just don’t measure up.

    Joshua Hill

    I think you miss my point. The fact that it was presented to the Australian public by Kevin Rudd as a business entity that could be profitable and be sold later allowed a successive government to change the plans under exactly such a justification.

    If Labor had been more up front initially and not lied to the electorate this would have been a lot harder to do.

    Last edited 11 months ago by Joshua Hill
    Kymm

    Sorry Josh but my bs detector powered by the Murdoch media machine is lighting up, a) the NBN should be profitable, if it was done right it could have been, b) we would be the only country without some form of NBN in your scenario where we would only want an NBN if it could be sold, c) if it wasn’t for the Murdoch party, sorry the liberal party being told to kill the one piece of tech at the time that would be direct competition to both the fox and tel parts of Foxtel we might not have ended… Read more »

    Joshua Hill

    A) Australia’s population spread over a large surface area makes us pretty unique in the world in terms of laying out infrastructure in the ground. You’ve provided no analysis to support your claim that such a program should be profitable. If there is a market for fast internet in Australia and a profit to be made how come no private company had wanted to make money? B) Most countries don’t have a national broadband infrastructure. I’m not sure what your point is here. The reason the NBN had to be presented, via a fallacy, to the Australian public as profitable… Read more »

    JeniSkunk

    What you overlooked, Joshua, are 2 critical points. First was the all out assault, hell bent on desecrating _EVERYTHING_ Labor launched, prior to the Abbott led LNP governmutt. It wasn’t only the Real FTTP NBN that got fragged by the LNP. Second is that the Ausfailian public, if they want a usable NFN connednection now have either to pay through the nose to get it, or wait until Hell freezes over and the NFNco are allowed to say they’ll rectify the disaster of FTTN, for certain people. And what’s been overlooked by the connedmentators is who owns those privately paid… Read more »

    Joshua Hill

    Take the emotion out of it Jeni. I never overlooked any of those points because I wasn’t addressing them.

    I think the NBN should have happened a long time ago as a public infrastructure investment which a prosperous country like ours can afford.

    I made one point about the duplicitous nature with which the NBN got off the ground, it may never have been possible to have an NBN otherwise but that initial act was politicing by one side. To go off about partisan politics and not wondering what Labor could have done different is blinkered.

    Last edited 11 months ago by Joshua Hill
    Darren Fletcher

    They missed an entire street in coli vale rfs and then promised to fiNish three times and didn’t fkn finished the nbn they haven’t started

    Dave

    It’s definitely not built. We have two residences on a large acreage property in central vic. NBN Co refuse to acknowledge the presence of the second so we have a single connection to two buildings 300m apart. Worse the single connection we have is sky muster, has never seen better than 10mbps and massive packet 50% packet loss, so it’s simply been disconnected for years. We are in range for fixed wireless but end up using mobile 4G.

    Jake

    We’re a joke even to the rest of the world; whenever Australia is discussed on reddit there is almost always a comment thread about how pathetic our internet services are. Almost every time.

    Col

    Most people know that the network is well below par but those in power and Murdoch spread misinformation to the general public…

    Davo

    Built to LNP standards*

    *- crap