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NBN Speeds Improve Despite COVID Demand

NBN speeds have held up despite unprecedented demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the ACCC crediting NBN Co’s decision to offer additional free network capacity for the solid performance.

The consumer watchdog’s tenth quarterly Measuring Broadband Australia report found improvements in download speeds across all speed tiers and all retail service providers (RSP) in the May-June period.

MyRepublic and iiNet showed the biggest improvement in busy hour speeds (5.4 per cent and four per cent respectively) since the previous report. According to ACCC Chair Rod Sims, a surge in demand from COVID restrictions has not negatively impacted the network.

“Speeds are also similar to those seen prior to the pandemic, in spite of a prolonged surge in broadband demand as households and businesses practice coronavirus restrictions.

“NBN Co’s decision to offer RSPs 40 per cent extra network capacity for free has been vital to the network’s sustained performance, and we welcome their decision to extend this offer until 30 November,” he said.

Underperforming services have also declined from 9.6 per cent to 8.1 per cent, which the ACCC ascribes to consumers having their wiring issues resolved or switching to lower and cheaper speed tiers to receive the services they pay for.

“We encourage NBN Co and RSPs to continue to build upon this result especially given the additional investment in FTTN service improvements announced last week by NBN Co.

“We welcome this decision by NBN Co especially since one in five FTTN customers on higher speed plans are still not getting anywhere near what they are paying for,” said Sims.

The ACCC’s NBN streaming tests have also indicated that all plans can maintain at least one high-definition Netflix stream, with higher-speed plans capable of sustaining several ultra-HD streams at once.

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