Half of all NBN users still opting for speeds of just 25/5Mbps

Despite debate between political parties on the inability of the Coalition's technology-agnostic NBN model to attain high speeds, almost 50 percent of all premises connected are opting for just 25/5Mbps.

Nearly half of all premises on the National Broadband Network (NBN) are on the 25/5Mbps speed tier, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) quarterly report on the NBN wholesale market, despite higher-speed offerings on nearly every network technology offered.

According to the ACCC's report, users on NBN's fibre-to-the-premises (FttP) network are opting mainly for 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload speeds, with 351,379 premises, or 46.1 percent, choosing this, followed by 12/1Mbps, which was chosen by 253,529 premises, or 33.3 percent; 115,314 premises or 15.1 percent choosing 100/40Mbps; 33,894 premises or 4.5 percent selecting 50/20Mbps; 7,376 premises or 1 percent choosing 25/10Mbps; 40 premises on 250/100Mbps; 22 premises on the highest speed tier of 1,000/400Mbps; and just three premises on the 500/200Mbps speed tier.

On the fibre-to-the-node (FttN) network, users again chose mainly the 25/5Mbps speed tier -- it was selected by 24,054 end users, or 66.5 percent; with 8,190 premises or 22.6 percent choosing 12/1Mbps; 2,691 premises or 7.4 percent choosing 25-100/5-40Mbps; 1,218 or 3.4 percent of premises choosing 25-50/5-20Mbps; and 37 premises or 0.1 percent choosing 25/5-10Mbps.

Again, users on the fibre-to-the-basement (FttB) network are choosing the 25/5Mbps speed tier more than any other, with 4,722 premises or 61.7 percent on that; 1,594 or 20.8 percent of premises on the 12/1Mbps speed tier; 1,036 or 13.5 percent on the 25-100/5-40Mbps speed tier; 263 or 3.4 percent on the 25-50/5-20Mbps speed tier; and 34 premises or 0.4 percent on the 25/5-10Mbps speed tier.

On the fixed-wireless network, more than five times as many users are opting for 25/5Mbps speeds over 12/1Mbps speeds, with 83,269 users or 82.5 percent on the former and 16,231 or 16 percent on the latter. The only other speed tier that has seen uptake is the 25-50/5-20Mbps tier, with 1,458 users, or 1.4 percent of fixed-wireless premises.

As the new NBN satellite launched services at the end of April, the ACCC reported that the 34,881 users on the interim satellite solution saw speeds of 6/1Mbps. The new satellite service will offer speeds of up to 25/5Mbps.

With NBN only just launching one hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network footprint in Queensland at the end of June, and a second HFC network in Western Australia earlier on Friday, it could not report the speed tier uptake across this technology.

Similarly, NBN in April revealed in response to Questions on Notice from Senate Estimates that more than a fifth of its FttN services are on the lowest speed tier available: 12/1Mbps.

NBN said that in January this year, FttN users were choosing 12/1Mbps plans 15.5 percent of the time; 25/5Mbps plans made up the vast bulk of users at 71 percent; 25/10Mbps barely registered with 0.1 percent; 50/20Mbps racked up 4.7 percent of users; and 100/40Mbps was purchased by 8.7 percent of customers.

By March 3, the percent of users on the lower two tiers had jumped to 89 percent, according to more detailed numbers provided by NBN: The 12/1Mbps tier increased to 22 percent, 25/5Mbps recorded 67 percent, 25-50/5-20Mbps held 4 percent of users, and 25-100Mbps/5-40Mbps plans were used by 7 percent of customers.

Following the Coalition's election at the end of 2013, NBN moved away from Labor's full FttP rollout to the present so-called multi-technology mix (MTM), which proposes to cover 20 percent of the population with FttP; 38 percent with FttN, FttB, and fibre to the distribution point; 34 percent with HFC; 5 percent with fixed wireless; and 3 percent with satellite services.