The ACCC has today released their findings from their latest study into the NBN and the speeds it provides. The February 2021 results showed an improvement in household speeds and also a reduction in the gap between small and large telcos.

According to the report, retail service providers achieved between 86.8 and 99.1 percent of plan speeds across the major NBN fixed-line plans during busy peak times between 7pm and 11pm. The good news is that these speeds are heading in the right direction with the result the highest since the ACCC started measuring it in 2018.

The difference in speeds from these busy hours to that at all hours of the day also narrowed with download speeds at busy times at 95.7 percent of plan speeds and just 96.7 percent at all hours of the day.

The performance gap between large and small telcos also narrowed in February with Exetel improving the most with its download speeds hitting 98.7 percent of the plan speed during busy hours — a massive 8.8 percent better than December of last year.

Fixed Wireless NBN plans improved slightly over the last period with average download speeds at 81.2 percent of plan speeds throughout the day and dropping to 70.8 percent during the peak hours in the evenings. The speeds were still considered to be “sufficient to access a range of Internet applications” although these “Internet applications” were not named.

Those lucky enough to have access to the NBN Home Ultrafast plans (500-900Mbps) saw their speeds fall by 23 percent during the busy evening periods compared with the daily average of 608 – 745Mbps. The ACCC are encouraging consumers to weigh up their daily usage requirements and the value of these plans before committing with just 50Mbps “capable of meeting the needs of a typical household”.

As part of the study the ACCC compared basic web browsing for specific sites and how they compared for various plans. They found that the difference in page load speeds from the basic 25/5 plan and above was minimal.

ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said “When choosing NBN plans, consumers should consider the number of people in their household that will be online at the same time and whether they use online applications that require higher levels of network speed and performance, such as gaming, video streaming and video conferencing.”

The ACCCs Measuring Broadband Australia program has been extended for another four years as they are calling for more households to volunteer in the program, particularly those people using:

  • NBN fixed wireless services
  • NBN higher speed services (with download speeds greater than 100 Mbps)
  • alternative non-NBN high speed fixed-line networks and fixed wireless networks that compete with the NBN.

The advantage of signing up is that it gives you access to information about the performance of your broadband service. To sign up visit the Measuring Broadband Australia website.

It’s great to see NBN speeds continuing to improve although how long this continues for is unknown given the limitations of our infrastructure. Fingers crossed it continues to improve for everyone on all plans.