Aussie Broadband: Why NBN Speeds Stink

Aussie Broadband: Why NBN Speeds Stink

While the rollout of the NBN has been less than perfect and many traditional ISPs, who are now RSPs, have struggled to meet customer expectations, one RSP has managed to avoid most of the bad publicity around the network. Aussie Broadband’s managing director and founder Phil Britt answered a bunch of questions on a recent Reddit AMA about the state of the NBN. Here are his most searing takes.

Britt answered a wide range of questions including a number around the company’s use of Dad Jokes instead of hold music when customer call in. But beneath the humour there’s a clear mission to support customers no matter what their situation.

For example, a number of people chatting with Britt in the AMA noted that Aussie Broadband had saved them money by only offering services they felt were needed by the customer.

In one case, the customer was sold a 50/12 plan rather than the 100/12 plan they were initially looking for as their distance from a node meant 100Mbps was unachievable. In another, a custom package was created saving a user $300 a year.

And several people noted the referral reward of $50 for both the referrer and new referred customer.

When it came to offering plans that exceed the company’s current 100Mbps limit and the impact of 5G, Britt was diplomatic but made his feelings known:

At this stage, we don’t have any plans to offer unlimited on anything over 100/40 services. The cvc pricing construct is the primary limiter here, we’ve only got 2.5 mbits of cvc allocated under the bundled model and someone on an unlimited plan on those higher tiers would have the potential to really cause some damage.

With 5G, Britt said it will appeal to many customers, rather than a fixed NBN connection – especially with transient users such as those in rental properties. And that could lead to a write down in the value of the NBN – something that has been flagged by politicians over recent months.

That write down, said Britt, could lead to a reduction in the price of 100Mbps services as “They can’t hold onto the $51 ARPU amounts they are trying to achieve because the mobile guys will wipe the floor with them.”

Britt also answered questions around why HFC is still limited saying “In terms of HFC, I believe the main issue holding back faster speeds is they don’t have full access to the spectrum on the cable currently – its still being shared with Telstra’s HFC internet product”.

It’s a fascinating AMA and worth reading through. There are a lot of insights into how other countries, like Switzerland, the US and New Zealand deliver and price broadband services as well as the challenges Britt is facing and how he thinks the long-term future of the NBN will play out.

Ultimately, when it comes to why NBN speeds stink – Britt said the CVC construct and the technical choices made such as spectrum and physical infrastructure are to blame. But Aussie Broadband seems determined to only promise what it can deliver and not disappoint customers.

For those who are curious, here’s how the current crop of leading NBN 100 plans compare on speed and pricing:

[Via Reddit]


  • ABB seem to have a very healthy relationship with customers. Way better than some of the other providers. I hope their transparent approach does them well.
    That said, yes, nbnco need a kick.

  • Correction: It is not a buy back but rather a write down. Not 450 billion, only 20 billion. My mistake. What was I thinking. But still 20 bilion is a little less than our coal exports.

    Bye Bye NBN: The Drum on ABC last night talked of a plan to dissolve the NBN and a government buy-back WILL happen. The Drum said the NBN will never produce a profit. The buy-back price was estimated at 450 billion.

    To put the 450 billion in perspective, our coal industry is worth 30 pa, and the total government spend, welfare, defence etc is 350 billion pa.

    I think it is time to stop all NBN work, and a Royal commission into who allowed the NBN investment to begin with .

    • So you are saying the NBN costs more than what the government spends on everything in a year?

      I don’t see the government skipping the budget for a year to buy the NBN.

    • its still an upgrade compared to what we have ever had before, even if it is overpriced and stupid

      Im on HFC my internet speed has gone from 10DN 0.8UP to 95DN and 39UP…. It may be horrible and stupid and dated tech but hey, its a MILLION times better

    • a Royal commission into who allowed the NBN investment to begin with .

      I can save us time, we did. Australia voted for Labor to start it, and the Libs to bungle it further. The real question is why is it so FUBAR?

    • I don’t think we need a royal commission to find out that Turnbull completely wrecked the NBN. 🙂

      He should definitely be brought to trial for what he did, though.

    • They won’t do that for that price.

      The rollout was a political football that the ALP tried to kick around before the LNP completely fucked it up. Meanwhile I’m on a FTTP Telstra Velocity estate where we will never get NBN, my only option is Telstra, it costs $99/mth, and I can’t get over 30Mbps even if I want to pay for higher speeds.

    • The mistake is not the expense, the mistake was trying to do it cheaper with technology that is slower will be obsolete sooner… and evidently ended up cost the same as the all fibre option anyway.

      The end of the day gow it was setup, structure and managed is at fault cause it become a political football. NBN should of been a monopoly superior to allwithout Telstra and Optus sabotaging it.

      The largest industry in Australia is not mining, the largest employer is IT… the largest entertainment industry is the internet… and almost everyone predicted this reality except the dinosaurs that lead this project, who thought 25Mbps was enough and didnt think simultaneous 4K downloads as each member of a house decides to watch something different from a single household line was a reality… yet last month CES was selling 8K as the future. Our demand for faster internet exceed expectations that a slow mismanaged roll out.

  • For example, a number of people chatting with Britt in the AMA noted that Aussie Broadband had saved them money by only offering services they felt were needed by the costumer.

    I see that Aussie NBN has tapped into the ISP market for cosplayers?

  • I have always wondered at my level of intelligence. Having been on the NBN via HFC connection for 16 months and with Aussie BB, I have nothing but great things to say about the NBN. This must surely indicate that I am of a low IQ, have no idea about politics with even less of a clue about technology. Is there any hope for me or should I end this miserable life now?

  • Interesting read about Aussie Broadband. It certainly doesn’t match my experience with them. Over promise /under deliver. I can’t differentiate them from the others.

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