Up to speed: Telstra and Optus race ahead

Up to speed: Telstra and Optus race ahead

Summary: The latest data from ZDNet's Broadband Speedtest not only shows how Optus is vying with Telstra for leadership in the broadband speed stakes, but also how the two of them are way ahead of the pack.


Telstra has always dominated the telco market. Today, rather than relying on its incumbency, the telco is holding onto its lead through the strength of its products. The latest data from ZDNet Australia's Broadband Speedtest not only shows how Optus is vying with Telstra for leadership in the broadband speed stakes, but also how the two of them are way ahead of the pack.

Every day more than 5000 people across the globe take the ZDNet Broadband Speedtest. Users get to test the speed of their connections and we get a wealth of data about the speed and performance across a variety of networks. Over the six months from 1 May to 31 October 2011, almost a million tests were run in Australia — that's not a bad sample size to be working with.

October 2011

Connection speeds of just under 100Mbps were recorded, but overall such high speeds were rare. Only 0.3 per cent of tests (3400 of them) recorded a speed exceeding 80Mbps. Even so, the vast majority now enjoy speeds above 1.5Mbps and close to a third are faster than 8Mbps. In this report we'll show how quickly adoption of higher speeds is increasing, and how Telstra and Optus are leading this charge.

Getting faster

Even limiting our analysis to data collected over the past six months, we can see how connection speeds are increasing. Those experiencing speeds in excess of 20Mbps increased steadily from 4.9 per cent of all tests in May to 5.9 per cent in October. The increase was less marked, but still evident, in the 8 to 20Mbps range. The bulk of users remain in the 1.5 to 8Mbps range, although this has slipped slightly from 55 per cent in May to 53.5 per cent in October. Still, that's a long way from the days when life maxed out at 1.5Mbps. Now only 17 per cent fall into this "slowcoach" bracket.


Topics: Broadband, Telcos, Optus, Telstra, 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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  • Telstra is so awesome that 12km from Canberra CBD I am on a RIM service where I can regularly get speeds of up to 500kbps and because of the eventual NBN roll out they do not plan on upgrading it. Thanks guys.
    • Weej, I assume from your comment that you live in the northern part of Canberra, you should try TransACT's point to point wireless product which is available in the RIM fed area, providing you can see the hill with our tower (most houses can), you should be able to get 5mbps download 1 mbps upload.

      Ivan Slavich
      Ivan Slavich
    • weej

      A victim of comercial realites. Some may have to wait years due to NBN snail pace. whilst the watch dog is having a self fame ball.
      Vasso Massonic
      • To be fair Telstra were not interested in upgrading the service in our area before the NBN was announced either. It has been something the local residents have been trying to get fixed for years without success, but guess what. Telstra don't care.
  • 900 ms average latency? Congratulations to ZDNet for putting the test-node in orbit. Latency of a geosynchronous satellite link is ~ 500ms, and round trip to the moon and back is ~2560ms, so the test node must be about half-way to the moon!!
    • Hi P,
      Very good point! After talking with the tech guys here (who created the test), I have added a footnote that I hope will clarify things. (We will work on rewording the actual graphs today and reposting them. Please note that they still accurately show relative performance!) Thank you. -Brian
    • I can vouch for the 900ms, that was the standard ping my parents used to get to google on satelite