Fixed wireless NBN speeds slower than internet in Turkey – six years ago

A Senate inquiry has revealed the full extent of regional Australia’s internet woes, with customers left to make do with peak time speeds slower than those experienced in Turkey almost a decade ago.

18 fixed wireless connection locations on the National Broadband Network (NBN) have been found to suffer heavy congestion during peak times, leaving households barely able to surf the web.

Fixed wireless is a technology employed by the NBN to service primarily rural or regional areas outside capital cities.

Answering to the Senate inquiry this week, the company responsible for rolling out the new national network, NBN Co, revealed that 25 cells across 18 locations have speeds that drop below just 3Mbps during peak times.

“NBN is prioritising work to address congestion on these towers and many on this list are scheduled to have work completed by April 2018,” the answer read.

These 18 locations, as the ABC has found, feature slower peak speeds than what the average internet user in Turkey faced back in 2012.

This information was gleaned from historical data from the internet company Akamai. Akamai is a cloud computing company and regularly conducts studies and tests on the world’s internet performance.

It is estimated that five per cent of NBN connections are using fixed wireless technology. The good news is that 46 per cent of connections feature speeds faster than 25Mbps, but that one per cent of total cells yield speeds of less than 3Mbps.

In a blog post on the NBN website, Gavin Williams, executive general manager for access products at NBN Co, wrote: “We have seen a significant spike in the amount of data being used in recent months, particularly in peak times.”

A Labor party spokesperson for regional communications corroborated this claim, citing that data consumption is increasing 40 per cent every 12 months.

Where are NBN speeds slowest?

Approximately one per cent of all fixed wireless access points across regional Australia feature average peak speeds of slower than 3Mbps – barely enough to stream Standard Definition Netflix. The locations are mainly rural:

  • Alfredton
  • Bees Creek
  • Bilbul
  • Bowraville
  • Clunes North
  • Glendale
  • Hibbord
  • Howard Springs
  • Howard Springs North
  • Humpty Doo
  • Kingaroy
  • Maffra
  • Mailors Flat
  • Smythesdale
  • Tinana West
  • Toongabbie
  • Tyers
  • Worrolong

In a recent report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), fixed line NBN was said to be achieving ‘better than expected’ results. Fixed line NBN primarily services capital cities and major regional hubs. Canstar Blue research indicates that about eight out of ten consumers find their NBN speeds adequate.

In late 2017, NBN Co slashed wholesale costs of the 50Mbps speed tier, which the ACCC has cited as being a factor in fixed line NBN speeds improving in the first quarter of 2018.

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