• ACCC Report on Underperforming Internet Services
  • Technical Broadband Limitations
  • Consumer Assistance

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Addressing lethargic internet speeds finally gets the attention it deserves as Australian consumer watchdog ACCC calls out NBN Co, the country's wholesale internet service provider through the National Broadband Network, together with its retail service providers last March. The move aims to address the need for fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) connections and to be able to combat the slow internet speeds that most homes and businesses are experiencing in significant areas in Australia.

ACCC Report on Underperforming Internet Services

The ACCC, also known as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released its latest quarterly Measuring Broadband Australia report last March and featured the number of Australian internet consumers that experienced underperforming broadband services. Data gathered from the report showed a continuous decline, with a 7.7% fall in December 2020.

Before this current quarter report, the number was at 13.9% that was based on ACCC's gathered data that started back in May 2018.

Technical Broadband Limitations

Additionally, the number of connections that comprises the 7.7% of the services that continued to perform below the standard acceptable internet speeds in December 2020 also included technical limitations. Such limitations caused the lethargic internet connection experiences preventing internet broadband consumers from achieving their maximum plan speeds. The NBN's FTTN network played a notable role in the overall percentage determined this first quarter of 2021.

According to ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey, "A significant proportion of fibre-to-the-node connections delivered maximum speeds below the maximum retail plan speed that the consumer has selected."

NBN Co, together with its RSPs, introduced the use of 9 POI to be able to adjust and improve these services. RSPs called to replace the urban FTTN, HFC, FW and several Sat networks with FTTP to be able to sell plans at the speed that consumers desire or deemed fit. Ideally, there are indicators that FTTC should be upgraded free to FTTP for current consumers who have purchased over 100Mbps plans to be able to address internet connection speeds.

Consumer Assistance

The ACCC encourages RSPs and NBN Co to aid consumers with their connectivity needs, especially the ones who do not perform at par with their subscribed plan speed.

ACCC Commissioner further added, "In many cases, these limited speeds are caused by modem or in-home wiring issues and can be fixed with a visit from a technician, or by moving consumers to lower and less expensive speed plans to ensure that they receive the speeds they pay for."

For the very first time since ACCC reviewed NBN Co and its RSPs performance, the Australian consumer watchdog provided a very indicative view on the actual performance of the NBN fixed wireless network that showed declined average speeds especially during peak evening hours during the last two quarters of 2020.