Life Tech Australia’s internet speeds take a backward step despite NBN rollout

Australia’s internet speeds take a backward step despite NBN rollout

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Our mobile speeds remain among the best, but broadband continues to lag. Photo: Getty
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Australia’s broadband has fallen even further behind the rest of the world in 2017 according to a new global ranking, despite millions more homes being connected to the country’s supposedly super-fast National Broadband Network.

Speedtest, a US website popular for rating the connection speeds of individual web users, estimated that Australia’s internet fell from 53 to 55 in world rankings between November and December.

This put it behind the small US island territory of Guam, which rocketed up the rankings from 54 to 53, helping to bump out Australia.

The website launched its monthly country-by-country comparison in August last year. It has been quickly adopted as a popular global guide.

speedtest globalIts latest rankings put Australian fixed broadband downloads at 25.88 megabits per second (Mbps), almost half the global average speed of 40.71 Mbps.

If accurate, Australian broadband is two-and-a-half times slower than New Zealand (64.32 Mbps) and six times slower than world leader Singapore (161.21 Mbps).

Since November, Australian broadband speeds fell -1.26 per cent, from 26.21 to 25.88 Mbps.

This is in spite of the fact more than 2.4 million premises had their NBN service activated in 2017, according to NBN Co’s annual report.

The caution is that Speedtest compiles its country-wide averages based on speed tests of individual users who choose to visit its website. So it is possible that more Australians with slower speeds visited the website in December.

Despite the slight dip, the overall trend for Australian broadband is upwards, with speeds increasing from 20 Mbps in early 2017.

According to the estimate, Australian mobile download speeds also dipped slightly in the rankings in December, from 6th in the world to 7th.

Meanwhile, Singapore – the world’s fastest country – went from strength to strength. Its broadband downloads increased from 153 to 161 Mbps.

An NBN spokesperson blamed Australia’s slower speeds on the fact its network had not yet been fully deployed. Speeds would improve once more Australians were connected, a spokesperson told The Australian.

“As these premises switch to the NBN and we move towards our target of eight million activated NBN premises by 2020, we expect to see the overall fixed-broadband speeds in Australia ­increase significantly,” the spokesperson said.

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