The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has today released its latest Measuring Broadband Australia report, giving Aussies a useful insight into which NBN plans offer the best real-world speeds – and TPG has claimed the number-one spot.
Updated every quarter, the ACCC’s report focuses on NBN speeds from six of the big-name Australian telcos: Telstra, Optus, TPG, iiNet, Aussie Broadband and MyRepublic. More than 190,000 download speed tests are performed on 790 NBN connections across the country, with speeds measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
The ACCC ranks its findings by calculating the percentage of the maximum plan download speed achieved by each provider during peak hour use. So basically, the closer to maximum speed your telco typically provides during its busiest hours – between 7pm and 11pm – the better its percentage score.
Download speeds: TPG wins
In first place for both download and upload speeds this quarter is TPG, which achieved a download speed average of 88.4% of maximum speeds (and 89.1% in uploads). This is a download improvement of 2.8% for TPG since last quarter and places it ahead of last quarter’s winner Aussie Broadband, which scored 85.4%.
In third place for downloads is iiNet (scoring 84.8%), followed closely by Optus at 84%, Telstra at 83.5% and MyRepublic with 82.1%:
- TPG: 88.4%
- Aussie Broadband: 85.4%
- iiNet: 84.8%
- Optus: 84%
- Telstra: 83.5%
- MyRepublic: 82.1%
Upload speeds: TPG wins again
TPG’s 89.1% upload speed score puts it firmly in first place again, with Aussie Broadband coming in second, achieving 87.5%. The full list of the ACCC’s download and upload percentage scores for all six providers are below:
- TPG: 89.1%
- Aussie Broadband: 87.5%
- iiNet: 87.1%
- MyRepublic: 84.6%
- Telstra: 83.1%
- Optus: 82.7%
Interestingly, it’s the smaller-name telcos who are frequently out-performing Telstra and Optus, although results remain close in both download and upload categories.
There may a be a variety of factors affecting this outcome, such as number of customers on the network (also known as congestion); other real-world issues that affect speeds are the quality of your modem or router, and the distance from your home to the nearest NBN exchange.
You should also keep in mind that these findings refer to speeds recorded between 7pm and 11pm, and use outside these ultra-busy hours will typically result in faster speeds. Telcos have recently transitioned to advertising ‘typical evening speeds’ for their NBN plans, which refer to the average speeds attainable during these peak hours: this is a more realistic measurement of real-world performance than simply listing maximum NBN speeds, which are rarely achievable.
Is the NBN improving?
Overall, service providers are mostly delivering on their typical plan speed promises. According to the ACCC, 68.8% of tests saw plans hit at least 90% of their maximum speed, with 24% achieving between 50% and 90%. For plans on the NBN 100 tier, this means achieving speeds of at least 90Mbps, and for NBN 50 plans, speeds of 45Mbps or higher.
Only around 7% of tests resulted in ISPs reaching less than 50% of their maximum plan speed – so for the most part, Australian NBN users can expect a satisfying broadband service from the above six providers. Incidentally, this is also the same percentage of sub-50% tests as recorded last quarter, so although speeds haven’t declined, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
It’s an encouraging result for the six tested providers, but as always, individual speeds may vary: you’ll also want to consider your own usage needs, as well as pricing and data requirements, when picking an NBN plan.