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Biggest evening dip in NBN speeds seen on 100Mbps plans

Fibre-to-the-curb connections reported as having lower latency than fibre to the premises.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor
Image: ACCC

Users of 100/40Mbps plans on the National Broadband Network (NBN) are seeing an almost 6Mbps dip in their evening speeds according to the latest instalment of the Measuring Broadband Australia report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) covering November.

The report states that the decrease begins after 5 pm, is at its strongest at 9 pm, and is back to normal at 11 pm.

During November, 260,000 download speed tests were completed on 1,212 whiteboxes, with almost 70% of tests hitting 90% of maximum plan speeds, this represented a jump of 5 percentage points on the previous report.

The ACCC also repeated its complaints that no user could achieve more than 95.6% of maximum plan speeds, using it as justification for the ridiculous situation of getting NBN to overdimension its layer 2 plans to allow the ACCC's layer 7 tests to hit 100%.

Broken down by telco download speeds, Optus maintained its spot at the top, followed by TPG, Extel, Aussie Broadband, iiNet, Telstra, MyRepublic, and Vocus-owned Dodo and iPrimus.

However, once the ACCC excluded underperforming connections -- which represented 11% of its survey sample, and 95% of which use fibre-to-the-node (FttN) technology -- the telco pecking order was Optus, iiNet, Telstra, TPG, Aussie Broadband, Exetel, MyRepublic, and Dodo and iPrimus.

Across NBN connection technologies, download speeds on fibre-to-the-premises (FttP), fibre-to-the-curb (FttC), and hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) were sitting between 90.5% to 91.6% of plan speed, but FttN was far behind at 82%. Once the underperforming connections were excluded, FttN jumped to 89.4% of plan speeds.

"Consumers with underperforming connections are encouraged to get in touch with their RSPs, and ask whether a technician may be able to fix their connection issues," ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

"Otherwise, they should be able to move to a cheaper plan with top speeds their connection can actually provide."

In terms of latency, FttC slightly beat FttP with 9.9 milliseconds versus 10.6ms, with HFC on 13ms, and FttN on 13.9ms.

For the test related to average web page loading time, Exetel claimed top spot on 2.4 seconds, with Telstra and Aussie Broadband tied at 2.6 seconds, followed by Dodo and iPrimus, iiNet, Optus, TPG, and MyRepublic.

Overnight, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) released its October to December second quarter phone and internet complaints report, which showed overall complaints were up a mere 1% compared to last year.

"When looking at the half year on half year comparison it's pleasing to see there was no significant increase in overall complaint volumes," TIO Judi Jones said.

"Fault and connection complaints about services delivered over the National Broadband Network continue their downward trend. 'Missed appointments' has dropped out of the top 10 issues, so consumers are telling us it's no longer the critical issue for them.

Jones added the results reflected ongoing efforts to address issues over previous years.

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network noted that the TIO had reported an increase in small business issues, and added that business owners should ensure they are on business grade plans to minimise disruption.

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