Blame backhaul, not NBN, for slow speeds

Summary:Tasmanian customers who have experienced lower than advertised download speeds on the National Broadband Network can blame their retail service provider (RSP) for not buying enough backhaul capacity, according to National Broadband Network Company CEO Mike Quigley.

Tasmanian customers who have experienced lower than advertised download speeds on the National Broadband Network can blame their retail service provider (RSP) for not buying enough backhaul capacity, according to National Broadband Network Company CEO Mike Quigley.

Mike Quigley

Mike Quigley (Credit: Josh Taylor/ZDNet Australia)

In Senate Estimates last night, Liberal Senator Eric Abetz highlighted an article in the Hobart Mercury that quoted a Midway Point customer who was on a 100 megabits per second (Mbps) plan but could only receive around 10Mbps download speeds.

"Are those sorts of stories familiar to the NBN?" Abetz asked Quigley.

"The NBN goes from the premise to the point of interconnect. You then have the RSP [which] buys backhaul from wherever, they then connect to their point of presence. The result of the investigation by ourselves and the RSP indicated that the link was under-dimensioned," Quigley said.

"When the RSP increased the backhaul between the point of interconnect to their point of presence, the problem went away."

The article quoted by Abetz stated that the RSP was Internode, which was supplied backhaul by Aurora.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy noted that the problem with Internode had affected a number of residents and one school in Tasmania.

Quigley returned to the issue at the Communications Alliance Broadband and Beyond 2011 conference in Sydney today, stating that the roll-out in Tasmania had taught the company a number of lessons about ensuring that the services offered by the NBN were being enabled correctly by the retailers.

"We're learning the importance of backhaul, obviously, that retail service providers buy, and if they don't buy quite enough, the service isn't what they expect it to be," he said. "People think the NBN isn't performing as it should be but really it's the backhaul component that we have to go talk to the RSP about."

Quigley said that 90 per cent of the passive construction at the first roll-out sites had now been completed. Armidale would be the first mainland site to go live in April.

Topics: NBN, Broadband

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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