NBN Plans Faster Than 100Mbps - What A Joke

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The NBN trucks have been working in my neighbourhood and, according to the advertising material in my letterbox, I'll soon be able to access faster speeds and all the goodness that comes from this major nation-building infrastructure project.

As I already enjoy 100Mbps downloads thanks to Telstra's HFC network, I'm looking for what the NBN will offer that's better. Sadly, it turns out that faster plans are invisible or non-existent.

Originally, when Lifehacker's editor and I discussed this story, the plan was to do a round-up of all the NBN plans on the market that offer really fast connections - better than 100Mbps downloads and at least double-digit uploads. So I dutifully went into research mode.

I started by looking at the NBN Wholesale Market Indicators Report. I looked at this report recently, and while it indicated that the number of fast NBN plans was plummeting, it gave me a good idea of where to start looking.

Ditch The NBN With These Fast Mobile Alternatives

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.

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The list it provided was:

  • Telstra Corporation Ltd
  • TPG
  • Optus Fixed Infrastructure Pty Limited
  • Vocus Communications
  • Aussie Broadband Pty Ltd
  • MyRepublic Pty Limited
  • Other Access Seekers

So, I went to each RSP's store and looked for the NBN plans that offered better than 100Mbps plans.

Here's a look at how some of these providers price their unlimited NBN 100 plans.

As you can see, all of these plans come saddled with a disclaimer similar to the below:

Speeds on NBN 100 plans are variable and you will typically experience slower speeds than the maximum access line speed available on your Plan, particularly during peak times (7-11pm).

The advertised average download speeds aren't what the phrase "NBN 100" would seem to suggest - and upload speeds are barely mentioned at all.

Almost no one is promising 100Mbps on their "NBN 100" plans

The first thing that I noticed was that even though plans are named according to the NBN's system for using a round number for the download speed, most plans are only promising around 80% of the theoretical maximum speed.

That's good as the ACCC's crackdown on over-promising and under-delivering on service quality is working. In most cases, the best you can expect is about 80Mbps downloads during peak periods.

But as mentioned, upload speeds are rarely advertised.

But I want more than 100Mbps

When I looked through the advertised plans from service providers only one had an obvious path to potentially ordering a service that's faster than 100Mbps.

Aussie Broadband lets you create a custom plan with options for 150Mbps and 250Mbps. Based on comments made by Lifehacker readers, the good news is Aussie Broadband won't let you sign on for a fast plan unless it is sure it can deliver it.

The downside, the cost of a 250Mbps plan started at close to $200 per month although you can customise your plan by adding a download quota to create a more affordable option.

The company's CEO, Phillip Britt, recently explained why there are so few plans that are faster than 100Mbps saying the main challenge is technology. So, the current plan of using a multi-technology mix rather than the original Fibre to the Premises plan is the cause.

I've been told that Telstra has some unadvertised plans that offer faster connections but when I spoke with their live chat, they told me the best they could offer was 100Mbps with 30Mbps uploads. That's a big improvement on my current upload speeds.

Optus' support was a challenge. I asked its online support for information on fast plans. The best they could offer was 90Mbps download and 30Mbps upload. They pointed me to an NBN Spec Sheet but that told me nothing about uploads. I had to extract that after asking the online support person (I actually asked if I was talking to a real person as the answers I received in the chat seemed very scripted).

With Vocus, the focus is on business accounts so they're probably not going to be on the radar for residential customers.

TPG offered the same sorts of plans as the others, with 100Mbps plans the fastest it offers although their typical evening speed was on the low side of the market at 71.4Mbps.

MyRepublic offered simian;lr deals although they say the typical evening speed was a little faster, at 83Mbps.

So, fast is relative

When I talk to friends overseas, it's clear that we are paying a premium for speed - and what we're getting isn't all that fast in global terms. The vast majority of Australians, who want a really fast connection, will have to pay for their own fibre connection. And they are effectively paying for their neighbours to get access to a faster network as well.

But the fact I cannot even ask for a faster service and that RSPs are being unnecessarily opaque about upload speeds is annoying. While most of the indicators suggest Australia's broadband performance is getting faster, the rest of the world is accelerating faster than we are.

In relative terms, we are drifting backwards. And the NBN remains a shadow of what could have been.


Comments

    Can't attach a screenshot here but, Optus mobile data (basically 4G+) delivered a 197Mbps down and 18.1Mbps up according to google speed test. NBN is doomed if a random Android phone already doubled the multi billion dollar national upgrade of a WIRED connection that's meant to be faster than wireless and somehow turns up far inferior instead.

      100mbps is considered slow in NZ. Many of us have home broadband capable of 1,000mbps

    yo, upload speeds. That's what will improve dramatically for you. NBN uploads speeds are actually pretty awesome.

      For content creators, upload speeds become more important. In this day and age, with YouTube, twitch, and similar services, being a creator is easier than ever.

      That's not me, at least not yet, but at some point in the future, it probably will be. So I generally at least glace at the upload speeds if/when I do a speed test. So far its OK.

      On top of that, I connect to a 100/40 plan, meaning I should be getting as much of that 140 Mbps total as I can. If its 90/10 it wont be much of an issue in use, but when that represents only 70% of what I'm paying for, then it is.

      If we want the Telco's to be accountable, its a good number to use. We're overpaying for the service, and getting ripped for it. And its something that needs to become an issue sooner rather than later as our data needs grow.

      They take shortcuts, in the interest of making a profit, because they can get away with it. They aren't providing the customer service they should be, and no matter what your position, that's wrong.

        I get that for sure. That's why i left my first 2 providers, they couldn't give me the advertised speeds. They blamed the NBN but really its them overselling the bandwidth capacity they have. Guess what, my 3rd provider, Aussiebroadband, said they promise not to oversell and they dont and i have almost constant 96dn 39up speeds

        Now, is it the providers fault for overselling? Of course it is! BUT! I've heard bandwidth capacity is not cheap and profit margins are small. The NBN roll out is costing our government a fortune and therefore is forcing bandwidth pricing up, meaning providers skimp on purchasing it and over sell creating bottle necks blah blah blah..... This story writes itself.

          As I understand it, the RSP's get gifted a certain amount of bandwidth, then pay per Mbps after that. Don't hold me to them, but the numbers I remember are 150 Mbps free and somewhere from $11 to $20 per Mbps after that. I've heard $11, $15, and $20, but it really doesn't matter that much which one it is. None of them are good for us.

          Which means anything over that 150 Mbps is costing money, which they pass on to us. That has to be shared across 32 connections, which is usually fine as you really don't use 100% of your connection 100% of the time. That 150 Mbps has to be split between downloads and uploads but there are usually enough gaps for everyones traffic to get where it wants to be.

          Except when there aren't, like at peak hours. Then we notice it. End of the day, theres blame on both the RSP and NBN. The cost of extra IS expensive, and prevents retail options from being a practical option. But the RSP's should be doing something about it, even if its just providing the expensive plans the story mentions, and highlighting why.

            Very Interesting. I like your last point, provide us with more expensive plans or whatever it takes to get those speeds up.

            Its all just one big cockup really haha. For now ill enjoy my steady speeds and hope that the weight of my entire neighborhood one day joining me on the same connection doesn't crush speeds.

              The annoying thing is that if they took the politics out of it, its not that hard to sort. That 150 Mbps base amount for example. Its plenty for 20 hours of the day, but that last 4 is a killer. If they want enough bandwidth to deal with the data moving about then, they have to buy it for the other 20 hours when they dont need it. From a business perspective its understandable why they dont. The cost tradeoff isnt worth it.

              So set something up where they can get the bandwidth needed just for a small chunk of the day. If its $12 per Mbps (using that because that makes it easier to figure) make it $1 per Mbps per 2 hour block. Break it down so they can get extra reasonably cheap and suddenly you at least solve the peak speed problems.

              Still doesnt solve FttN, but its a step in the right direction. Or give a higher 'free' portion for bigger plans. Make it 250 Mbps for 200/80 plans for example, or a high percentage, something like 80%. Theres a little more needed to be bought, but thats acceptable.

              Something I've kept saying for years is that the NBN can deliver those extreme speeds, with exceptions. Cant do anything for those FttN exceptions right now, but one thing at a time. Get people using it, make it valuable, and the remaining problems become easier to solve.

              I have family that have researched and lectured around the world on this for well over 20 years. It shouldnt be this hard, yet thanks to idiots in Canberra (to me, specifically Abbott), here we are.

    I believe that Launtel (https://launtel.net.au/) offer a 250Mbps down, 100Mbps up service, but it's about $240/month.

    I haven't used it, though, so I can't speak to its quality.

    A handful of cry babies wanting more than 100Mbps won't justify an RSP offering faster plans beyond that. That's how business works. People do complain that they can't get anything better than 100Mbps so they can at least not feel too embarrassed talking to their friends from Singapore or Sweden but majority of these people except perhaps a handful as shown in the comments above are not willing to pay extra! That's a fact.... And if the business-ignorant author tells otherwise then I'll believe it when I see it - you need more than a handful commenting on your article agreeing to your demand for faster plans and willing to pay at the same time (count me out as am happy with my 95Mbps/35Mbps speeds via FTTN) ... Until then, you all need to get yourself acquainted with how business works and not just focusing on the little amount of tech you know right now... Ciao.

    Last edited 27/03/19 12:35 am

      That's an interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing. I think people will pay for faster access if it's available. Certainly, I have colleagues who are paying closer to $200 a month in Australia for faster-than-100Mbps connections in places where the FttP rollout progressed before the multi-technology mix became reality.

      As for you comments about how business works... I remember a certain Microsoft CEO saying no-one would ever buy an iPhone. Apple is one of the most valuable companies in the world and he now owns a basketball team after running his business towards irrelevance. People pay for stuff they value. And fast connection will become increasingly valuable as traditional services disappear.

    This sounds like a nice problem to have. I'm on NBN fixed wireless and a typical afternoon speed for me and my neighbours is around 1 - 1.5 Mbps. Not so hot for a $60/month plan.

    Thankfully, I have a generous data plan through my phone.

      What speed tier are you paying for? If your RSP can't deliver on its promise then you have a case for getting a refund and switching to a RS that can delver on what they promise.

        Fixed wireless NBN is a different beast altogether where the service very quickly reaches actual capacity. They could try some different providers in case it is a provider issue but they might also find all of them are the same because congestion is the culprit. That's the unfortunate side of wireless delivery, congestion becomes a problem much faster and the effect is more punishing.

        The slowest one available... 25/5 or whatever it is. I was on the 50/20 plan but considering we never got close to that speed, I dropped down.

        Doesn't matter what RSP you go through with FW, it's a bucket of turd sandwiches all round. There's a petition going round at the moment in my town to try and get it fixed, but considering a similar petition went round a year ago and nothing changed, I'm not too hopeful.

        The speeds we get now are roughly what we used to get 20 years ago. And because everything's switched over to NBN, there's no chance of getting back on ADSL.

    Plus 100 speed !! Christ give me +20mbps I live 9km from the city centre in Perth and the maximum we can achieve is 16mbps and it’s the same for the entire suburb.

    What an absolute utter cluster f$&@? Of a project I just can’t fathom how they could get something so wrong.

    Can’t wait for 5g I will pay whatever the cost just to move away from this failure

    Hate to say it the liberal party really fucked this up so I’m gonna bin them

      Liberal party did NOT fkkkk anything, the NBN Corporation are the installers, the various servers are the suppliers.
      It wouldn't matter if Ali Baba & his 40 Thieves were running the country the NBN situation would not change.
      Note that Labor were in power when the NBN project began, Greg Combet pretended that he was The WIZARD OF BROADBAND, but the NBN Corporation got the contract.
      Many blinkered people still believe Telstra own the NBN, no, they were contracted by the government to install communication equipment way back in the land-line only era.

    Well firstly i will say most aussies can't get hfc and many would rather adsl than telstra.. that being said i have a fibre to the home 100/400 plan than gives 89down and 38 up which is perfect as i am a twitch streamer so uploads is the only thing that matters to me..

    Faster downloads would be great and all but meh not needed.. also my republic have a gigabit area of wollongong they did through some weird comp a while back but would rather move overseas than live in such a large place as wollong or a capital..

    I am one of the rare .001% of the population using a speed faster than 100/40. On my Aussie Broadband 250/100 connection I get 240/94 most of the time. It's a relief to forget when I was struggling with a poor quality ADSL copper connection.

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