Up to speed: fast, but losing momentum

Up to speed: fast, but losing momentum

Summary: The latest analysis of data from ZDNet Australia's Broadband Speedtest shows that average broadband speeds in this country compare well with other developed nations, but many are overtaking us.


The latest analysis of data from ZDNet Australia's Broadband Speedtest shows that average broadband speeds in this country compare well with other developed nations, but many are overtaking us.

Every month we see a slight increase in the average connection speed of Australian internet users. As this table shows, home users now average 8.3Mbps, a 4 per cent increase on data collected between November and December last year, and 21 per cent up on September to October.

(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet Australia)

Increasing speeds by almost a quarter in half a year sounds impressive, until we look at speed tests from users in other parts of the world.

The UK has seen average speeds (from home users) jump by 64 per cent, leapfrogging us in the league table of broadband speeds. They are undergoing a massive fibre roll-out in the UK (a mix of fibre to the node and fibre to the home) and, unlike here, it's off to a good start. This could help account for average speeds that are now nudging the 10Mbps mark.

The US has maintained its lead over all other countries (at least as far as our speed test results are concerned), growing at almost twice the rate of Australia. Back in September/October 2011 they averaged 7.8Mbps, and at 7.3Mbps we weren't far behind. Now the US has leapt ahead, with average speeds 22 per cent faster than here.

(Credit: Phil Dobbie/ZDNet Australia)

The more we study data from our broadband speed tests, and the month-on-month gains, it gets harder and harder to argue that people don't want quicker speeds. The rate of growth is nothing short of phenomenal. Many countries will soon hit an average speed of 12Mbps, the entry level for the National Broadband Network (NBN). By the time fibre is hooked up to our homes it's a speed that many will find woefully inadequate.

Is all this waiting for an NBN solution actually slowing us down? You can hear Liberal MP Paul Fletcher talk more about that suggestion on Twisted Wire this week.

Topics: Broadband, Government AU, NBN


Phil Dobbie has a wealth of radio and business experience. He started his career in commercial radio in the UK and, since coming to Australia in 1991, has held senior marketing and management roles with Telstra, OzEmail, the British Tourist Authority and other telecommunications, media, travel and advertising businesses.

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  • "but many are overtaking us" = three countries? Are there some missing from this graphic?
    I still don't understand how actual speed relates to demand for speed. Sure faster speeds are great and nobody's going to complain, but does that really equate to demand?
  • Let's also remember how small the UK, Germany, Italy, France, NZ, etc are in comparison to the size of Australia, and how long our fibre rollout will take.
  • Fibre speeds dependent upon what one wants to pay.

    1Gbps speeds are possible, but would be expensive, though many businesses would want that, such as for data backup, etc.

    100Mbps speeds will certainly be better than any other current data speeds in any technology, so 'woefully inadequate' is rather exaggerated as few will have any experience of them on a WAN up until then.
  • This misses the point on availabilty of higher speed broadband services. There are still too many who can not get reasonable service. For example I live in metropolitan outskirts of Brisbane and there are whole parts of suburbs that can not get even basic ADSL speeds. Yes there are some who get reasonable access , but not all.
  • This is also dependent on a number of factors. If you are running cable Internet, for example, the time of day can have significant impact on your speed since a cable connection is shared among those households that run cable, and peak usage cuts a bit under half from off-peak use. At high points, I've measured speeds of 18 Mbps, and low points have seen speeds of 10 Mbps.