Australia is moving up the global internet speed rankings as households flocked to faster NBN connections, new data shows.
Australia’s fixed broadband speeds are now 53rd in the world after rising by three ranks in July, according to data compiled by Speedtest.net.
Australia is now 10 ranks higher than before the pandemic.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said on Friday that 400,000 households with NBN moved to faster plans in the June quarter amid new lockdowns across NSW, Victoria and Brisbane.
Almost three quarters of NBN wholesale connections are now enjoying download speeds of 50mbps and higher – just above average broadband in South Africa.
About 17.3 per cent of Australian NBN connections are now running at 100mbps, which is approaching the global average broadband speed.
ACCC commissioner Anna Brakey said NBN Co’s recent incentives for retail providers under its ‘Focus on Fast’ plan are starting to pay off.
“Most broadband customers are now using higher speed tiers,” Ms Brakey said in a statement on Friday.
“That is a result of more retail providers and NBN promoting higher-speed plans.”
Ms Brakey urged customers to check they are getting value for money from their NBN plans.
“Retailers may revert to standard pricing for premium services once a promotion ends, and we urge customers to monitor their usage to make sure that their service meets their ongoing needs,” she said.
Australia has been somewhat of a broadband internet laggard over the past decade compared to other developed economies.
Average New Zealand download speeds are 164 mbps, but Australian speeds rose faster than all other OECD nations in July.
The nation’s speed increase comes amid an ongoing scandal over revelations large telcos misled customers about their internet speeds.
Telstra, Optus and TPG were recently taken to court by the ACCC over failing to rectify problems for affected customers.
Despite this, the ACCC’s latest internet speeds report shows encouraging signs about the behaviour of major retailers.
Retail service providers acquired much more bandwidth over the June quarter, the ACCC said. Bandwidth purchased rose 9.2 per cent, resulting in capacity bought per customer rising from 2.54Mbps to 2.74Mbps.
“We are pleased that retail providers are acquiring additional capacity to support network demand and keep consumers connected,” Ms Brakey said.
Market share in the NBN retail market remained broadly stable in the quarter.
The fastest growth was Aussie Broadband, which now commands one-quarter of the wholesale market among small providers, up 4.7 per cent.