Homegrown ‘no-nonsense’ telco Aussie Broadband is upstaging the giants of the industry, delivering NBN speeds faster than that of Telstra, Optus and TPG at peak times, a consumer watchdog investigation has revealed.
The ACCC report found that only two out of the six telco service providers investigated supplied speeds of at least 85 per cent of the plan’s maximum speed between 7pm and 11pm.
Aussie Broadband’s speeds were the fastest, providing customers with 88.3 per cent of their maximum download speed during the high-congestion evening period. TPG followed at 85.6 per cent.
Meanwhile, Australia’s largest telco Telstra, which boasts “superior network capabilities” and charges consumers a premium for its service, lagged behind at 79.9 per cent.
Average download speeds were recorded to be slower overall, with only Optus’s speeds showing signs of improvement since the previous quarter’s results, rising from 80.7 per cent to 83.3 per cent.
MyRepublic was the worst performer, reaching just 74.4 per cent.
This comes one week after the telco was ordered to pay more than $25,000 in penalties for allegedly misleading consumers about its NBN performance.
While 70 per cent of overall tests continued to achieve download speeds of above 90 per cent of maximum plan speeds, 7 per cent of services were achieving less than half of their plan’s maximum speed.
Leading telecommunications analyst Paul Budde said the results were “not good enough”.
“The speeds are already low and then when you use the internet at busy times, to get 25 per cent less is unacceptable,” he said.
“You don’t pay for a bottle of milk that is 25 per cent empty.”
What slows the internet down?
NBN Co likens internet congestion to a busy highway.
Most of the time, during off-peak hours, traffic should flow freely and internet downloads should be quick, regardless of how much capacity the telco has purchased from NBN Co.
But the amount of capacity becomes important during peak times of an evening when most consumers access the internet.
During this time, congestion can occur if your telco has not bought enough capacity, which can cause ‘buffering’ problems and slower speeds.
Telecommunications expert Dr Rob Nicholls said it was likely that speeds have generally slowed since the previous quarter due to the sudden increase in demand when NBN Co reduced the wholesale cost of a 50 Mbps service to the same price as 25 Mbps.
He said Telstra’s reduced speeds since the last quarter were bad news for Telstra customers who have remained loyal despite seeing cheaper plans advertised by competitors.
“If a customer is considering switching, they need to check that there are no termination fees,” Dr Nicholls said.
“It’s also often worth calling your current provider to see if they will do a deal to fix up any service disappointments.”
How Aussie Broadband outperformed major telcos
Aussie Broadband managing director Phillip Britt said it constantly monitors its network performance and increases bandwidth capacity “within minutes” when required.
“Our services are performing faster because we stop selling in areas where we’ve hit 80 per cent usage and we are waiting on network upgrades, so that our existing customers don’t get congestion,” he told The New Daily.
“We’re really pleased with the results … We know we’ve been building a great network, and it’s fantastic to see it independently verified.”
ACCC chair Rod Sims urged telcos to help customers obtain the full speeds outlined in their NBN plans.
“We also expect ISPs to inform customers of the speeds achievable on their network connections, and better match the plans they offer to those speeds,” he said.
The ACCC put telcos on notice a year ago over allegedly false and misleading NBN internet speed claims.
The New Daily contacted Telstra and MyRepublic for comment but did not receive a response by deadline.