Ookla has released their quarterly report for Australia’s fixed broadband providers and the folks over at Aussie Broadband (and their customers) would be extremely happy with it.

The report found that Aussie Broadband was the fastest fixed broadband provider in Australia for the third quarter in 2021 with an average Speed Score of 88.33. Optus came in second out of the “top providers” with a much lower score of just 59.81. A top provider is a provider that accounts for 3% or more of total test samples in the market for the entire period.

The devil is in the details though. The speed results do not take into account the tier that the customers are on though so if a customer is on a cheaper tier their speeds will be automatically limited, thereby skewing the results. So providers with a higher proportion of NBN 12 or NBN 25 customers are going to score lower than those with a higher proportion of high tier plan customers.

Of the results, a TPG Telecom (covers TPG, Vodafone and iiNet) spokesperson said:

“The presentation of a range of speeds an RSP offers in a single metric is simplistic. We offer a range of NBN plans across our brands to suit all customers’ speed needs. The best source of information for customers to assess how their NBN service should be performing is the typical evening speed for the NBN plan they have chosen, which is included on our websites. Apps such as Ookla’s are also helpful for customers to test actual speeds against their chosen speed plan.”

A Telstra spokesperson also offered a response:

We are rated #1 for nbn average download speeds and Netflix streaming by the ACCC and we’re committed to always delivering the best experience for our customers. Our advertised typical busy hour speeds for Superfast plans and Ultrafast are market leading and measured in accordance with the ACCC speed advertising guidelines

This report unfortunately compares internet apples with oranges as it doesn’t take into account the mix of various nbn speed tiers or other fixed broadband technologies, like ADSL, so it is misleading.

As Australia’s largest nbn provider, we serve millions of customers offering a range of choice across the nbn speed tiers and, importantly, also serve many rural and regional communities where faster technologies aren’t available. This skews our score versus smaller ISPs who serve mainly metro areas and promote higher nbn speed tiers.

Of course a more accurate way or representing speed would be as a percentage of the maximum speed of your subscribed tier. So that means that Aussie’s customers are more likely to sign up to a higher tier?

The top providers had similar latency scores with Aussie Broadband and iiNet topping the list at 9ms. TPG, Vodafone, Optus and Telstra clocked theirs in at 10ms.

The next big category Aussie topped was the Consistency Score with a score of 85.7, closely followed by Vodafone and Optus at 83.2% and 82.1% respectively. The scores are how often, as a percentage, a provider showed at least a 25Mbps minimum download speed and 3Mbps minimum upload speed. With a low bar it’s no surprise that all of the top providers performed well here.

Ookla also list the top cities for speeds with Melbourne topping the list with a score of 52.53Mbps. The results were close though with Darwin at 52.42Mbps and Brisbane at 52.41Mbps. The results were so close that just 6Mbps encompassed the top ten cities.

These results can be a good way to decide which provider to sign up to if you are in the market for a top provider. For this quarter Aussie Broadband topped the list according to Ookla’s flawed methodology. It will be interesting to see how this changes in the next quarter as so many of us head out of the home and back to work.