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The NBN announces plans to boost internet speeds

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Using current NBN technology, top download internet speeds would go from 250 to 750 megabits per second (Mbps).
NBN internet speed

The National Broadband Network (NBN) says it’s developed a plan to make Australia’s internet speed five times faster.

The national provider, which manages Australia’s broadband network, claims current speeds are failing to meet the increasing demands on internet usage.

It’s released a new proposal to bring Australian internet speeds in line with other countries.

Background

Retailers like AGL, TPG, and Dodo work with the NBN to connect homes and businesses to the national network. Customers buy NBN plans, which differ in speed and price, via those retailers.

The NBN says it wants to make its plans with the fastest internet speeds (also the most expensive) much faster “at no extra wholesale cost”. Further, it said its fastest internet would be accessible to 90% of NBN-connected households — assuming they pay for its top plans.

Using current NBN technology, top download speeds would go from 250 to 750 megabits per second (Mbps).

How fast is Australia’s internet?

Australia’s average broadband speeds are ranked 95th out of 181 countries, according to new findings from Speedtest.

Speedtest’s Global Index collects international data from user broadband tests and mobile networks.

Moreover, its latest report, from January, ranked Singapore as having the fastest broadband (measured in Mbps).

This is how Australia compares to the world’s best and worst performers, as well as other western countries (all speeds are averages and are in Mbps).

NBN internet speed

A decade ago, the average household used 40 gigabytes of internet a month. Today, the monthly average is 443 GB.

Additionally, the NBN predicts there will be an average of 33 Wi-Fi-connected devices in every household by 2026. It said boosting download speeds to keep up with growing demand is essential.

For context, uploading a photo to Instagram takes about 3MB. An hour of Netflix can use up to 7GB, depending on the streaming quality.

Access

The NBN said up to 10 million homes could access the top speeds by the end of 2025.

However, several parts of the country are yet to have the required NBN fibre optic cables installed.

There are around 3.8 million ‘NBN ready’ homes still waiting to be connected to the network.

Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland said “reliable, quality, high-speed internet” is “essential 21st-century infrastructure.”

Response

NBN Chief Customer Officer Anna Perin said: “We are proposing to deliver these accelerated speeds at no extra wholesale cost to internet retailers.”

However, Shadow Communications Minister David Coleman questioned if retailers would increase prices for plans with faster services, and cast doubt over the “cost to consumers.”

A spokesperson from TPG called faster download speeds “a positive opportunity for those who can access it,” but it urged the NBN not to “overlook customers who cannot afford pricier, high-speed NBN plans.”

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