NBN Speeds: The Telco Changes You Need To Know About

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Over the past six months, internet service providers have made a raft of changes to their National Broadband Network (NBN) products in a bid to improve transparency with customers. Based on recommendations provided by the ACCC, the changes are supposed to make it easier to compare NBN products between different telcos. Here's what you need to know.

What’s my speed again?

It all started with how providers claimed plan speeds. Many referred to the nbn co wholesale products such as 12/1Mbps and added a nebulous “up to” phrase to the mix. As these names referred to theoretical speeds, they didn’t really help customers understand what they were getting for their money.

As a result, the ACCC proposed a naming convention as a guide for providers to consider when promoting their products: basic speed (for nbn12 plans), standard speed (nbn25), standard plus speed (nbn50) and premium speed (nbn100). Some providers followed the recommendation; however, others tasked their marketing department to come up with something else.

What really makes a difference for consumers is the recommendation from the ACCC for providers to display actual speeds that customers can expect during the busy evening period. Most RSPs now display the “Typical Evening Speed” consumers can expect between 7pm and 11pm on their websites, allowing people to compare plans.

These speeds are actual results from line speed measurements across a decent sample size and give a good representation to what customers should achieve at their home.

The bad word: congestion

Another great solution for consumers is the standard plus speed tier (nbn50) heavily pushed and incentivised by nbn co. The product is a result of increased customer demand for higher speeds – recent figures predict that 1.1 million users will move onto this speed tier by June 2018. Since its introduction we have seen many providers adding the higher speed tier to its portfolio, which triggered over 25% of current nbn users to choose this speed.

This growth comes as a result of both, incentives to RSPs from nbn co and a new wholesale pricing structure coming into effect later this year. This has enabled providers to offer customers cheaper access to more network capacity, tackling the industry’s congestion issue. According to nbn co’s latest progress report, congestion has shrunk from almost five hours to just 18 minutes. Australia is finally on its way to getting the fast home internet experience it deserves!

Ticking the boxes

My take out in one sentence: the things to check when on the hunt for a great nbn experience are - high speeds, unlimited data, no lock-in contracts, no additional activation fees and a fast activation. If your provider of choice ticks all those boxes, consider yourself a winner.


Rob Appel is Commercial Director for Broadband at amaysim.


Comments

    The issue remains that it is too hard for a consumer to tell which provider is going to purchase enough bandwith to ensure consistent high speeds at all times.

    When you fly with Jetstar you know what you are getting compared to flying with Qantas, the price difference is easily explained. But with NBN services there is no way of knowing if the speed you get with Amaysim would be comparable to the speed you might get from Optus.

    A stat needs to be published by the NBN called something like a re-seller capacity ratio. This figure would essentially represent the available bandwith for each provider based on the number of services they have provisioned, the amount of bandwith they have purchased etc. Give us a clear figure that will tell us who in the game are running a Jetstar style set-up with bare minimum backhaul and who is running a Qantas level of service with sufficient capacity for all. (I hate to use Qantas as an example of 'premium' service but you get the point)

      An even bigger issue is that he consumer struggles to know what technology will be delivering the NBN. Will it be FTTP, FTTN, wireless, satellite, "other"?

      A friend recently got connected and has no idea whether he's on genuine FTTP or some other method. And nowhere in the doco when he signed up does it say. Similarly, searching on the online tool just said NBN available not the delivery method.

      While a lot of people might shrug and say "so what, NBN is NBN right?" that's obviously not the case with different technologies having different limits and issues. Satellite in particular boned one friend who can no longer internet game despite technically being on NBN.

      If/When I move house it's going to be a real checking point on the new property.

        I'd agree that is an issue and should be more visible to the end user.

        Although I wouldn't say it is a bigger issue, because typically it doesn't matter which provider you go with for NBN your method of connecting is determined by the infrastructure available at your location. So when comparing providers it's not as much of an issue and regardless of your method of connecting if the provider doesn't have enough backhaul that will likely still end up being your bottleneck regardless of connection type.

          It's actually more important that provider. After all if you sign up with provider A and they have too much contention you can change to provider B and get good performance. If you're shunted into satellite you're screwed. Doesn't matter what provider you change too the satellite is the limiting part. Or the FTTN or wireless.

          I'm talking about moving house particularly. If you're stuck in a location, well you're stuck in a location...

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