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ACCC takes credit for Optus NBN outage improvements

Optus has deployed a firmware update to customer to reduce its outage rate.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Image: ACCC

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has taken credit for identifying an outage issue impacting Optus customers.

In its latest Measuring Broadband Australia report [PDF], Optus has an outage figure at least five times higher than its competitors, recording over 2.5 average daily outages lasting over 30 seconds compared to the rest of the industry that sat at around 0.5 outages or lower.

"Even though the average Optus subscriber experienced 2.6 outages per day, 81% of these outages lasted for less than a minute, and 90% lasted for less than 2 minutes. Furthermore, these figures are based on data collected during May," the ACCC said.

"Since the data were collected, Optus has distributed a firmware update to its modems which was intended to reduce the rate of outages. Data collected during the first two weeks of July 2019 provides preliminary indication that this was successful; Optus' average during this period was 0.5 outages per day, in line with other RSPs."

Within the headline average download speed category, TPG remains on top, however it has fallen back to the field.

TPG recorded an overall maximum speed percentage of 87.6%, followed by Optus on 86.7%, Aussie Broadband with 86.6%, iiNet with 85.3%, Exetel and MyRepublic with 85.1%, with Telstra on 84.2%, and Dodo bringing up the rear with 82.2%.

In the category of webpage loading time, Aussie Broadband and Exetel shared top honours, followed by Telstra, iiNet, MyRepublic, TPG, Dodo, and Optus. The times ranged between 2.6 seconds for Aussie Broadband and Exetel, to 3.1 seconds for Optus.

The ACCC pointed out that 12.4% of customer have underperforming services, which is a category where less than 75% of advertised speeds are reached. Most of those service are 50Mbps and 100Mbps services on fibre-to-the-node (FttN) connections.

"We now want to see more action from both NBN Co and retail service providers (RSPs) to help the more than one in ten connections that simply do not perform to their plan speed," ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

"In many cases, these limited speeds are caused by in-home wiring issues that can be fixed with a visit from a technician."

This edition of the report broke out fibre-to-the-curb connections, and found it was comparable to NBN's other fixed line connectivity services, apart from FttN.

In June, the ACCC filed an action against Optus alleging the telco misled consumers about the need to move to NBN.

The consumer watchdog alleged that Optus sent an email on 24 May 2018 advising some of its mobile customers that their broadband service would be "disconnected very soon" and encouraged them to "make the switch, before it's too late".

The email was allegedly sent to 138,988 Optus mobile customers.

Since the ACCC filed the action, Optus has acknowledged it misled customers about the need to migrate to the NBN and apologised to customers who received the email. The telco also offered a costless exit for those who took out the offer.

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