Well I have good news and bad news.

In the lead-up to the 2007 Federal Election, we heard the vision to commence construction of a super-fast National Broadband Network (NBN) as Australia was lagging behind the rest of the world in Internet connectivity. The original plan was to have fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology for 98 per cent of Australian households.

Finally some recognition that we need alternatives in this nation when we run out of metals and minerals to dig up.

The NBN has indeed been delivering increased speeds to residents across the nation…but…it is not progressing as quickly as other nations. The watering down of the technology solution by subsequent Governments meant that we haven’t received the full delivery of what was initially promised.

In the latest global rankings report by Ookla, Australia has dropped to number 62 in the ranking of household speeds. On the plus side, over the last year we have improved our average download speed by 28 per cent but we have dropped from number 55 in the world a further 7 places. That puts us behind other global Internet heavyweights (insert cute sarcasm emoji here!) such as Kazakhstan and Trinidad and Tobago. More importantly, it puts us way behind New Zealand who sit at number 23. Constantly beating us at Rugby is one thing but having average download speeds that are two and a half times faster than us is just one step too far. To put it further in perspective, our average speed of 35.11 Mbps is bettered by Singapore, who top the latest list, by a multiple of 5.7 times. Now I can understand that Singapore is a more densely populated area than Australia as they sit at number two in the world in population density, so there may be a reasonable argument for that differential – until I discuss the next list from Ookla.

Despite this disappointing and bad news (I know the bit about our speed improving seems like good news but it is just not enough) there is some good news.

When you look at the list of download speeds for Mobile Internet rather than Fixed Internet, we fare dramatically better. Top fifty I hear you ask? Could we dare to dream of top twenty or maybe, just maybe, beat New Zealand?

In Mobile Internet download speeds, we sit comfortably at number five – with an average speed of 58.87Mbps. The top performer in this category is Norway at 67.54Mbps so we are only 12.8 per cent behind the best in the world and while New Zealand sits in the top twenty, they are behind us!

Suddenly the argument about a sparse population doesn’t make sense. We are a sparsely populated nation – sitting at number 192 in the world – but our Mobile Internet speed seems at odds with our Fixed Internet speeds. Even more amazing is the fact that our average Mobile download speed is 68 per cent faster than the Fixed speed.

You can understand why NBN is worried about Mobile only households.

Currently, 15 per cent of users across the nation that have access to the NBN choose to go Mobile instead but with the advent of 5G, the estimations are that this figure will soon move to 30 per cent. Every new Mobile connection makes the business model of the NBN that little bit tougher.

NBN will be favoured by users who have high data consumption but the challenge for the NBN is to deliver Fixed speeds that make the NBN compelling to connect to.

Tell me what you think of your Internet speed at ask@techtalk.digital

Mathew Dickerson

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