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Competition Regulator Concludes Fibre to the Premise Most Reliable Broadband Connection

In news that should surprise no-one, Australians who have a fibre to the premises broadband connection experience less outages than any other NBN connection type, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has found in its latest Measuring Broadband Australia report.

The latest report compares the performance of each of the NBN fixed-line technologies for outage frequency, latency, and packet loss.

The report found that Australians with fibre to the node (FTTN) and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connections are more likely to experience frequent outages compared to those on fibre to the premises (FTTP) connections.

During the testing, FTTN connections accounted for almost half (48 per cent) of the services that experienced an outage on most days, despite representing 34 per cent of all NBN fixed-line connections in the Measuring Broadband Australia program. By comparison, FTTP connections, which represent 36 per cent of the connections in the program, accounted for only 12 per cent of services that experienced an outage on most days.

“While all NBN fixed-line connection types experience some outages, there is a noticeable increase in the frequency of these outages if you have a FTTN or HFC connection,” ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said.

“If a consumer is experiencing frequent outages, we encourage them to contact their broadband provider for assistance. They may be able to access a fibre to the premises upgrade at their address or obtain a mobile backup to provide service continuity during outages.”

In addition to outages, a consumer’s broadband connection quality is also impacted by latency and packet loss.

Latency refers to the time it takes to send data from a user’s device to a server and back. Packet loss is when a user does not receive all the data that they requested when using online applications.

Higher latency means there are delays in sending and receiving data. Both high latency and high packet loss can cause significant disruptions to a consumer’s experience when using online applications.

The report found that the average latency for NBN fixed-line connections was 10.7 milliseconds and the average packet loss was 0.16 per cent, neither of which is likely to disrupt a consumer’s experience when using common online applications.

Compared to other NBN connection types, FTTP connections recorded the lowest average latency and packet loss with less variation between results across different households. This suggests that FTTP connections are more capable of delivering a reliable experience for consumers when using online applications that require very low latency or packet loss.

Consumers Continue to Receive Close to Advertised Download Speeds

Broadband retailers continued to deliver download speeds to consumers close to their maximum plan speeds during March 2024.

This report was the first in the Measuring Broadband Australia program’s history where Telstra recorded the highest average download speed during the busy hours (7-11pm) of the retail service providers featured. NBN fixed-line connections on the Telstra network recorded an average busy hour download speed of 102.3 per cent of plan speed.

The average busy download speed across all retail service providers on NBN fixed-line connections was 99.8 per cent of plan speed, compared to 99.3 per cent last quarter.

Underperforming services represented 4.1 per cent of the NBN fixed-line services tested in this report, the lowest figure in the program’s history. The number of underperforming services with a FTTN connection remains higher than other connection types.

“We will continue to monitor underperforming services as they can have a big impact on consumers who rightly expect to receive the speeds they are paying for,” Ms Brakey said.

Visit https://www.accc.gov.au/

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