Australian Broadband Sees Improved Speeds, Regional Gaps Narrowing, ACCC Report Reveals

The report from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) indicates a significant upturn in broadband speeds across urban and regional areas serviced by the National Broadband Network (NBN) fixed-line connections. The September 2023 findings show marked enhancements since the last assessment conducted in February 2022.
NBN fixed broadband speed 2023 ACCC report

Key Findings:

Urban Speed Surge: Urban areas, representing cities with populations of over 10,000, witnessed a commendable increase in average broadband download speeds during peak hours (7-11 pm). The broadband speeds escalated to 99 percent of the maximum plan speed in September 2023, a significant jump from 96.8 percent in February 2022.

Regional Improvement: Consumers in regional areas experienced a noteworthy surge in broadband download speeds, reaching 97.2 percent of the maximum plan speed, a leap from 94.2 percent recorded previously.

Upload Gains: Broadband upload speeds, a crucial aspect for online activities, saw improvements across the board. Regional areas narrowed the gap, with broadband upload speeds now standing at 86.1 percent of the maximum plan speed, up from 79.8 percent. Urban areas also saw an increase, reaching 87.9 percent, up from 84.8 percent.

ACCC’s Perspective:

ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey highlighted the importance of equitable access to reliable internet speeds for all Australians, regardless of their geographic location. The Commissioner emphasized the encouraging trend of diminishing disparities between urban and regional broadband speeds.

Expressing concern for underperforming services, Anna Brakey pointed out that regional broadband consumers still grapple with this issue more than their urban counterparts. Approximately seven percent of regional services were identified as underperforming, compared to four percent in urban areas.

Anna Brakey attributed this disparity to the prevalence of fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) services in regional areas, which are more susceptible to underperformance due to physical impairments.

Future Outlook:

ACCC expects collaborative efforts from NBN and broadband retailers to address underperforming services, striving to ensure that all users, irrespective of location or connection type, receive the promised broadband speeds.

The report also revealed that NBN fixed-line download speeds during busy hours hit a record high of 98.8 percent of plan speed, signifying a continual positive trajectory in broadband performance.

The findings underscore a promising trajectory in Australia’s broadband landscape, emphasizing the need for sustained efforts to bridge the regional-urban divide and ensure consistent, high-quality internet access nationwide.