Speed test data has revealed which telecommunications service providers are achieving the fastest internet speeds in Australia’s major towns and cities.
Coastal NSW city Wollongong, Victoria’s largest regional town Geelong and the Gold Coast were ranked as the best places for fast fixed-line internet speeds, according to Ookla data capturing internet users’ Speedtest results from April to September this year.
Geelong produced by far the highest download speed – an average of 67.05 Mbps – nearly doubling averages in any of the other cities.
Smaller retailers including MyRepublic, iiNet and Spirit were found to generate some of the fastest speed scores in Australia’s most populated cities.
However, major telcos such as Telstra and Optus appeared to perform better overall.
Telstra provided the fastest speeds during peak times with a speed score of 21.00, and Optus achieved the best speeds during off-peak time at 27.74. (Ookla’s speed scores are derived from both download and upload speeds).
Meanwhile, Optus achieved the best speeds more generally across all hours (24.16) followed by Telstra (22.78), TPG (21.01), iiNet (19.84) and iPrimus (15.89).
During peak-hour internet use in the evenings, from 7pm to 11pm, average internet download speeds dropped by 9 per cent compared to overall performance.
Speedtest data found that fixed broadband speeds were generally much slower than mobile speeds in Australia, with downloads down by 45 per cent.
Telstra, Vodafone and Optus were found to be leading the pack in the mobile sphere.
Telecommunications experts told The New Daily it was too early in the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) to make decisions about changing service providers or moving house based on this data.
University of Western Australia’s David Glance, director of the Centre for Software Practice, said the data reaffirmed the broadband problems in Australia.
“First, the technologies that have been deployed cap the speeds to 100 Mbps as the upper bound. This compares to other countries that have much higher maximum speeds,” he said, referencing the 300 Mbps download speeds in his AirBnB accommodation in Paris two weeks ago.
“The other problem is cost.
”It is very high compared to other countries and so this, combined with the fact that the ISPs are promoting the cheaper plans, has resulted in more people opting for slower speed connections including the lowest tier that was never intended to be used for general internet access.”
Dr Glance said to treat the findings of smaller RSPs performing better with caution.
“The population of people using Speedtest are likely to care more about speed and it is not a random population. The metrics have also not been analysed statistically and so we don’t know if the results are statistically significant or not,” he said.
Emeritus Professor Rod Tucker, who was part of a panel of experts that advised the Rudd government to adopt an FTTP-based NBN strategy, added that it was difficult to draw definitive conclusions from the data as the NBN has only just passed its halfway point.
Professor Tucker said: “As far as selecting an RSP is concerned, it is important to pick an RSP that purchases sufficient [capacity] from NBN Co and that has sufficient bandwidth in its own network.”
The Ookla report suggested some reasons why different internet speeds were being achieved given that the NBN should, in theory, provide service parity to all internet users.
These include retail service providers (RSPs) selling NBN plans on different speed tiers, the varied technology across the network, the quality of the RSP’s edge network, and the equipment in people’s homes.