Australia's global broadband ranking isn't just slow - we're also one of the most expensive places in the world when it comes to accessing that data. New research from vouchercloud has looked at the cost of fixed broadband and it paints a damning picture of where we sit when it comes to access to fast and reasonably priced broadband.
The research from vouchercloud, part of the GroupOn family, ranks Australia in 66th place when it comes to the cost of broadband.
Australians are paying, based on the data $2.26 per Mbps for their data. To put that in some context, Romanians are paying just $0.16 for the same performance.
And Canada, which has a similar population density and average wage to Australia, is paying just $0.75 per Mbps.
The good news is that our mobile broadband offerings are amongst the best in the world when it comes to performance. And fixed broadband is getting faster as more people move away from ADSL to the NBN with 50Mbps plans becoming the sweet spot for reliable service delivery and what people are prepared to pay. So, the most recent speed ranking which found the average speed here is about 34Mbps is on the increase.
The National Broadband Network has become a bit of a crapshoot - with emphasis on 'crap'. Depending on the technology deployed in your suburb and the type of plan you plump for, you could be getting speeds as low as 20 megabits per second. This clearly isn't good enough.
But we are paying a high price for that.
So, not only are we languishing when it comes to performance in global terms, we are paying more for lower performing broadband access. I'm not of the view that Australia needs to be the fastest and cheapest in global terms. But I don't think we need to be ranked in lower end of the scale either. As one of the world's larger economies, I don't think a top 20 ranking is much to ask for.
Many of the least expensive countries are in economies where the average salary and cost of living is lower that we have here. So, if we take a "Big Mac Index" view of things, the picture might not be so bad. But it's clear that access to fast, affordable and reliable broadband is an enabler of many things.
I'm hopeful that we will end up with a lower cost per Mbps over the coming years. Many of the NBN plans my letterbox is being filled with indicate plans without data limits and once the current rollout with the multi-technology mix is complete, there will be further works that replace the remaining bits of copper on the network and, eventually, the HFC network, with something faster and more future proof.
But until then, it doesn't matter how you look at the data, Australia's fixed broadband is slow and expensive in global terms.