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Broadband Speeds Hit Record High During Covid-19 Pandemic

Download speeds were the highest they have ever been during the pandemic, according to a new report published by consumer watchdog the ACCC.

Retail service providers (RSPs) in October achieved between 84.8 and 98.5% of maximum speed across all plans during the busy hours of 7-11pm.

More than half of all monitored NBN services also achieved download speeds exceeding maximum speeds when averaged across all hours of the day, the ACCC says.

“Speeds in the October test period were the highest we have seen for all monitored RSPs since the start of the MBA program,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

During October, daytime download speeds held steady, and even during the busy hours (7-11pm) customers experienced a minimal decrease in performance.

Telstra showed the greatest improvement in their busy-hour download speeds, up by over 11% since the last report. S

Superloop featured for the first time in the quarterly report, and achieved comparable results to other monitored RSPs with an average of 93.4 per cent of maximum plan speed during busy hours.

This is the second ACCC quarterly report detailing NBN network performance results during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has put sustained pressure on the network.

“NBN Co’s decision to temporarily waive charges for up to 40 per cent extra capacity for RSPs in the form of increased connectivity virtual circuit (CVC) has played a key role in supporting broadband speeds during the pandemic,” Sims added.

Fibre to the node (FTTN) connections, however, are still performing considerably lower than other connection technologies. The results show that consumers on FTTN connections who are paying for high speed 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps plans received around 10 and 20% lower speeds than the maximum plan speed respectively, at any given time.

“Although most consumers have already benefited from increased download speeds, those on FTTN connections are continuing to experience lower than expected speeds. We encourage NBN Co and RSPs to work to resolve this, especially given the additional investment in FTTN services announced by NBN Co in September,” Sims said.

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