Daily Bulletin


The Conversation

  • Written by David Glance, Director of UWA Centre for Software Practice, University of Western Australia

Rod Sims, Chairman of the Australian Competition & Consumers Commission (ACCC) has signalled that it is going to take a tougher stance against internet service providers like Telstra, Optus and Vocus about misleading consumers about NBN broadband speeds. In particular, Sims has said that Telstra’s continued use of terms like “Very Fast” and “Super Fast” to describe theoretical, but often unobtainable, broadband speeds need to stop.

The ACCC has indicated that it is likely to bring court cases before the end of the year if these practices don’t stop.

In a speech at the Unwired Revolution Conference, the ACCC talked of the findings of a review into the Australian communications sector. In particular, he drew attention to the fact that the Australian public were opting for slower speeds on the NBN mainly because ISPs were unwilling to sell faster speeds because of the high costs of the connections (CVC) provided by NBN Co.

The pricing of wholesale connections provided by NBN Co are set in order for them to recoup money that has been invested, in large part by the Australian federal government, and so unless NBN Co directed to do something different by the government, the situation is unlikely to change.

Part of the problem is the lack of transparency with regard to the extent of the problem of NBN customers not getting what they thought they had paid for. Many properties that are being supplied with a Fibre to the Node (FTTN) connection may never be able to get the fastest connection plan of 100 Mbps because they are too far from the node. As the chart below shows, speeds of 100 Mbps can only be achieved if the house is within 500 meters of the node.

image FTTN speed slows with distance from the node. NBN MTM

A map of properties in Australia highlights that 2 houses on opposite sides of a road can have very different maximum speeds because of the nodes they are connected to. Telstra has previously admitted that some customers were sold plans for speeds they would never be able to attain at their premises.

image NBN street map showing distance from node and calculated speed. NBN MTM

In addition to this, there are the number of connections to that node and in particular the capacity of the ISP to handle peak demand by having spare CVC capacity. There is also other factors that would affect a property’s connection including the state of the copper wiring between the node and the house.

What the ACCC wants ISPs to do is to tell customers not only what the theoretical maximum speed may be for their property using a given technology, but also what the speeds may drop to during peak demand.

NBN Co has this data and could make it public, but it won’t because it claims that it is the responsibility of the ISPs to tell their own customers. Shadow communications minister Michelle Rowland has filed a freedom of information request for the NBN data of theoretical speeds for each property.

The ACCC is recruiting volunteers to install special hardware and software to monitor speeds and quality of internet connections at their homes. The results of a pilot trial reported in 2015 showed that the problems with peak demand and variability of internet speeds existed on pre-NBN internet services like Telstra’s HFC cable service. As the figure below highlights, even fibre to the premises (FTTP) connections from one provider varied dramatically, dropping significantly every evening.

image Average download speed of FTTP connections. ACCC

Whilst the data that the ACCC is collecting will be useful and will ultimately assist in highlighting ISPs that are not providing promised services, it would be far better if NBN Co provided this data publicly in the first place.

If the politics and economics of the NBN means that consumers are going to mostly stick to slower speed plans, many of the proposed economic and social outcomes that were originally envisioned will not be realised. Whilst it may represent a slightly better situation for some people who currently have a poor connection via ADSL, it is hard to justify the AUD 20.3 billion that has been invested by the Australian government in the network so far.

Authors: David Glance, Director of UWA Centre for Software Practice, University of Western Australia

Read more http://theconversation.com/the-accc-threatens-to-take-telstra-and-other-isps-to-court-over-misleading-nbn-speeds-81360

Writers Wanted

Victoria and NSW are funding extra tutors to help struggling students. Here's what parents need to know about the schemes

arrow_forward

The mystery of the blue flower: nature's rare colour owes its existence to bee vision

arrow_forward

Curb population growth to tackle climate change: now that's a tough ask

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Ray Hadley's interview with Scott Morrison

RAY HADLEY: Prime Minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: G’day Ray.   HADLEY: I was just referring to this story from the Courier Mail, which you’ve probably caught up with today about t...

Ray Hadley & Scott Morrison - avatar Ray Hadley & Scott Morrison

Prime Minister's Remarks to Joint Party Room

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is great to be back in the party room, the joint party room. It’s great to have everybody back here. It’s great to officially welcome Garth who joins us. Welcome, Garth...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Tips to find the best plastic manufacturing supplier for your needs

Plastics are very much an important part of all of our lives, but they’re particularly valuable to a wide variety of industries that rely on their production for their operations. The industries, ...

News Co - avatar News Co

7 foolproof tips for bidding successfully at a property auction

Auctions can be beneficial for prospective buyers, as they are transparent and fair. If you reach the limit you are willing to pay, you can simply walk away. Another benefit of an auction is tha...

Dominique Grubisa - avatar Dominique Grubisa

Getting Ready to Code? These Popular and Easy Programming Languages Can Get You Started

According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many pr...

News Co - avatar News Co



News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion