The Role of The Australian Government on Broadband Internet

  • The Australian Broadband Guarantee
  • National Broadband Network
  • Department of Communications demonstrates significant positive changes

It has been more than eight years since we covered the Australian Government’s stance on bringing broadband internet to everyone in Australia. That’s enough time for a baby to enter grade four. With multiple government changes in the interim, a reflection at how things have been going is long overdue.

First of all though, let’s take a quick look at what was promised.

The Australian Broadband Guarantee:

      Aims to increase both physical and economical access to broadband services no matter where you live in Australia.

      This will be achieved by:

          Filling any remaining ‘black-spots’ in access to broadband services in regional and remote areas

          Providing subsidies for Australians installing satellite broadband services that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive

          Capping prices for broadband services to ensure cost of broadband in rural and remote areas is affordable

National Broadband Network:

      Labour established a company to invest up to $43 billion over the next eight years to operate and install the national broadband network to provide faster broadband to Australian homes and businesses

      Fibre Optic cables will be run directly into homes and business across Australia, offering speeds that will dwarf the ADSL2+ systems in place

      The National Broadband Network will also work to address internet black spots in regional areas to offer high speed access to more Australians, no matter where they live. 

 

So what has happened since then?

      Approximately 9.9 million premises (91 per cent) have access to fixed line broadband services delivered via ADSL technology.

      Approximately 3.1 million premises (28 per cent) have access to a high speed broadband platform (defined as including fibre to the premises, fibre to the node, hybrid fibre coaxial networks and fixed wireless networks).

      Approximately 8.8 million premises (81 per cent) have access to 3G mobile broadband services and about 6.4 million premises (59 per cent) have access to 4G services.

      Approximately 3.1 million premises (28 per cent) have access to peak download speeds of between 25megabits per second (Mbps) and 110 Mbps.

      Approximately 7.1 million premises (65 per cent) are in areas that have access to peak median download speeds of less than 24 Mbps over the copper network.

      About 0.7 million premises (6 per cent) are unable to access a fixed broadband service.

      Of premises with access to ADSL broadband services over copper, about 3.7 million are located in areas with an estimated peak median download speed of less than 9 Mbps, and 920,000 in areas with an estimated peak median download speed of less than 4.8 Mbps.

(Information provided by the Broadband Availability and Quality Report December 2013 by the Department of Communications)

Overall, the report from the Department of Communications demonstrates significant positive changes being achieved although critics can justifiably argue that the progress occurring is far too slow. Although average speeds have since increased from the report’s release, doubling what was achieved in 2013, Australia’s internet is still lagging behind compared to other developed countries.

Currently, we place a disappointing #51 in the world according to the Akamai State of the Internet Report (2017). What’s even more embarrassing is that New Zealand has found something they can one-up us on, sitting at a slightly more respectable #34 on the list. (Just kidding kiwis, we love ya!)

 

At the end of the day, the internet infrastructure is continuing to improve and everyday browsing should not be a problem for most individual household users. That being said, be sure to keep an eye out for when optic fibre internet will be available in your area and jump on the bandwagon ASAP. In the mean time there are high speed ADSL, ADSL2+, Naked DSLCable and Mobile Broadband internet services available from a number of Australian broadband providers across metropolitan and rural areas that should provide more than sufficient speed and coverage to satisfy our Netflixing needs in the interim.