4 things to know about high-speed internet
With complaints about Australia’s National Broadband Network soaring to a whopping 160 per cent in the last financial year – 4,000 complaints on slow data speed alone – no wonder people are frustrated with the rollout. In fact, the most significant issues consumers raised to Australia’s Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) about NBN services in 2015-16 were:
Faults – this category includes slow data speeds, unusable services and drop outs. TIO recorded 7,480 fault issues for NBN services, which made up 38.5 per cent of all the internet and landline issues it recorded in 2015-16. Fault issues for NBN services increased 147.8 per cent compared to last year.
Connections – this category includes connection delays and missed appointments. TIO recorded 7,948 connection issues for NBN services, which made up 20.4 per cent of all internet and landline connection issues it recorded this year. Connection issues for NBN services increased 63.2 per cent compared to 2014-15.
Geographically, TIO received most NBN-related consumer complaints from New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
Top 10 postcodes for NBN complaints
|Postcode||Location||NBN-related complaints in 2015-16|
|2261||Central Coast, NSW||149|
“Australians deserve ultra-fast internet that meets the standards set by our neighbours in New Zealand, Japan, Korea and Malaysia,” says Geoff Neate, co-founder and managing director of Spirit Telecoms. “With recent data showing we fall far behind these countries and complaints to the Telecoms ombudsman up by 160 per cent, the need for an alternative to the NBN, and its use of defunct copper cabling, is clear.”
“The good news is that there are a number of smaller, independent brands that offer superfast internet alternatives.”
Due to NBN’s pricing model, Geoff says resellers have to pay for CVC which, in simple terms, is an aggregated internet access pipe.
“The problem with this is that you end up sharing your NBN internet usage with several other NBN users – stated by the ACCC as up to 22 users,” he explains. “Therefore during ‘busy hour’ i.e. the busiest 60 minutes of any given day, they may be getting as little as 1-2Mbps.
“By owning our own network we control the performance to the end user. In doing so we can also provide important features, such as symmetrical speeds, meaning that uploads are just as quick as downloads. We also control speed and reliability right through to the end user.”
With an estimated one in three Australians now regularly working from home, reliable high-speed internet is vital for the Australian economy.
“As we increasingly rely on remote working and employees having access to shared systems and data, high speed internet is a must for all companies,” he says. “With business internet traffic forecast to grow by compound annual growth rate of 21 per cent from 2016 to 20211, the need for reliable internet is only going to increase.”
Remote working is enabling people to decide how they earn money, which has seen a 9 per cent2 rise in the number of people taking on a second job to supplement their income.
“High-speed internet helps these people, as well as working parents and those in rural areas, do their jobs in locations that suit them,” says Geoff.
“Reliable and high speed internet is not only essential for the success of companies and employees, it impacts the nation as a whole. Fast and reliable internet connections are paramount to our ability to remain competitive on an international level, as well as source and collaborate with overseas talent.”
Questions to ask when comparing high-speed internet providers
1. What is your download Mbps per user ratio?
This will give you a better indication of how fast your internet will actually be.
2. What speed am I likely to get during ‘busy hour’ internet traffic?
If you aren’t sure they are giving you a definitive answer, ask for the average figure during school holidays, or in the evenings, as this is when most people are online.
3. How much data do I get?
Faster internet allows you to download and upload bigger content more quickly. We are also becoming more reliant on data, with the number of internet enabled household items increasing, including home assistants, security cameras and even heating and shoes. Look for bigger or unlimited data packages, so you know you won’t go over your limit today or in the future.
4. What’s your installation process and how long does it take?
Internet Service Providers that own their networks are more likely to have better control on the quality and time investment during installation.