ACCC to Monitor Gold Coast Internet Speeds

The ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) is going to monitor Gold Coast internet speeds as part of the national program to monitor internet speeds. This internet monitoring program will test actual real household internet speeds.

The NBN (National Broadband Network) was supposed to solve problems with slow internet speeds for most Australian homes and businesses including those on the Gold Coast. However many users on the NBN have reported slow internet speeds, particularly at peak times are night. Some peak time internet speeds have been so bad that they are slower than the oldĀ ADSL connections users were on. Of course it is in the evenings when most household on the Gold Coast want to use their internet service. Popular video services like Netflix and Youtube pause (buffer) during playback or lower the quality of the picture. Some online games become unusable as the response time to the server is too long. Even browsing simple web pages can have problems with pages timing out.

Gold Coast Internet Speeds

Gold Coast Internet Speeds

These slow Gold Coast internet speeds have been occurring even on the fastest and best available technology on the NBN, FTTH (Fiber to the Home).

FTTH (Fiber to the Home) internet connections are seen to be the best type of technology. They maintain their maximum speed no matter how far they are from their connection to the internet back haul or in POI (Point of Interconnect). Most NBN FTTH connections can support up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps) download.

Slow Gold Coast internet speeds via the NBN, Why?

Greed or mismanagement. There are some RSPs (Retail Service Providers) on the NBN that are not purchasing sufficient capacity from nbn (the company) to meet the needs of their customers at the busiest times of the day. These peak times are typically in the evening, but school holidays also creates a large demand on the network. Buying capacity (CVC) from nbn (the company) is very expensive. It is the largest cost component for RSPs in providing internet services to households. Limiting this CVC cost makes a big difference to the profitability of a RSP.

One way RSPs control the cost of the CVC is by limiting the quota or amount of internet data a house hold can use in a given month.

However someĀ RSPs are offering “unlimited” internet data plans for less than some RSPs are offering a plan with a fixed quota. These “unlimited” internet plans seem very appealing. With unlimited internet, Gold Coast households no longer need to worry about how much they use. Sometimes things seem too good to be true. While most household don’t use much data compared to the plans with fixed quotas, there are some users who use much more. These high data users can use more than 100 times the average household usage. For the same price, they are using 100 times what the average household is using.

RSPs can’t be profitable if they offer “unlimited” data at very low prices. The very high internet data users are attracted to these unlimited internet plans. The end result is slower speeds than advertised at peak times. Now in some locations the reduction in internet speed might only be small, but as more high data users move to that RSP the internet speeds at peak times become worse. When customer contact their RSP to find out why their internet is slow, they have often been told the problem is with the NBN. In the majority of cases this is not true. As customers cannot contact the nbn (company) directly, they cannot discover if this is true.

This is where the ACCC internet monitoring program comes in. For each region (POI) there will be households monitoring the internet speeds for all of the major RSPs and many of the smaller ones. If internet speeds on one POI for one RSP are slow, but normal for others, the problem is clearly with the slow RSP. The ACCC will publish this data so people can make better informed decision when choosing a RSP, This data will also provide the evidence the ACCC need to take a RSP to court for failing to provide the speeds they advertised. It is hoped that just knowing that the information will be made public should be enough to ensure RSP either change their advertising or provide what they have advertised.

Monitoring more than just NBN Gold Coast Internet Speeds

The ACCC program will also monitor internet speeds of networks owned by private companies. These networks are often in recent estate developments or apartment blocks. The program will not monitor nbn fixed wireless connections or the problematic Sky Muster satellite service. This is unfortunate as both of these technologies have failed to provide the service that users would normally expect.

Press Release from ACCC

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