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Australian broadband sees least growth in APAC

Australia's peak connection speed for Q3 was 41.9Mbps, the smallest gain in the entire APAC region, while its average speed stood at only 7.8Mbps.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Akamai has released its State of the Internet report for the third quarter of 2015, reporting that Australia has the slowest growth rate in peak broadband speeds for the Asia-Pacific region on a year-over-year basis, growing by 16 percent to reach 41.9Mbps.

Australia's average connection speed rose by just 0.6 percent quarter on quarter, to reach 7.8Mbps, though this was ahead of the global average of 5.1Mbps. Australia retained its 46th position globally.

By comparison, Singapore's peak connection speeds increased by 63 percent from the same quarter last year, to reach 135.4Mbps.

Overall, South Korea led the way on average speeds, at 20.5Mbps -- a drop of 19 percent year on year, but still well ahead of second-placed Sweden, which saw average speeds of 17.4Mbps.

The top two were followed by Norway, at 16.4Mbps; Switzerland, at 16.2Mbps; Hong Kong, at 15.8Mbps; the Netherlands, at 15.6Mbps; Japan, with 15Mbps; Finland, with 14.8Mbps; and Latvia and the Czech Republic, which both had average connection speeds of 14.5Mbps.

New Zealand had an average connection speed of 8.7Mbps for the quarter, the United States had 12.6Mbps, and the United Kingdom had 13Mbps.

The proportion of the Australian population with access to broadband above speeds of 4Mbps was 72 percent, a decrease of 2.6 percent quarter on quarter. This proportion dropped to 18 percent for speeds of over 10Mbps, and just 7.4 percent of the Australian population have speeds above 15Mbps.

This ranked Australia a distant 39th place, behind New Zealand, which sits in 37th place, with 8.3 percent of its population covered by speeds above 15Mbps.

Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) guarantees speeds of at least 25Mbps to all Australians by 2020, with the Akamai report noting that this should increase Australia's statistics in future reports.

"Although it currently ranks in the bottom third of qualifying countries worldwide, Australia may soon see a boost in 15Mbps adoption rates, as well as overall speeds, as its government-owned backbone initiative -- the National Broadband Network (NBN) -- launched services in September that enable high-speed internet access over existing copper phone lines using fibre-to-the-node technology," the report says.

"When the network is completed in 2020, roughly 38 percent of Australian homes are expected to have access at speeds of 25Mbps to 500Mbps, depending on their distance to the nodes."

The so-called multi-technology mix (MTM) NBN aims to provide 38 percent of the population with fibre to the node (FttN) and fibre to the basement (FttB), making use of the existing copper lines; 34 percent with hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC); 20 percent with fibre to the premises (FttP); 5 percent with fixed-wireless; and 3 percent with satellite services, although NBN this week announced that it would be moving 40,000 homes slated to get satellite services to its fixed-wireless and fixed-line footprint.

The technology being delivered to each premises depends on the geographic positioning of an area, with those living in metropolitan areas receiving HFC, FttN, FttP, or FttB. Fibre-to-the-distribution-point (FttDP) connections may be utilised for premises that are located more than 1 kilometre from a node, with those in even more remote areas to receive fixed-wireless or satellite services.

Satellite services will deliver the slowest speeds, of 25Mbps down/5Mbps up, with NBN recently doubling the speeds to be attained across its fixed-wireless service, to 50Mbps/20Mbps.

NBN switched on its FttN network in September, claiming that trials in Belmont have seen customers achieve download speeds of up to 100Mbps; however, as of December 16, just 1,000 customers have been connected to the FttN network.

NBN in October also announced that it had attained throughput speeds of 800Mbps during a trial of G.fast FttB technology.

In terms of its copper and HFC networks, however, two documents leaked this month revealed that the cost of replacing and repairing Telstra's legacy copper network has blown out to AU$640 million, and that Optus' HFC network is "not fully fit for purpose", with 470,000 premises in the footprint needing to be overbuilt by either Telstra HFC or fibre services.

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