Just before Christmas, when the media was mostly focused elsewhere (including NSW’s own COVID outbreak), the government made the somewhat surprising announcement that the National Broadband Network rollout was “built and fully operational”.
Of course, we knew better, but ran with the story anyway seeking some of your feedback on your experiences with the NBN. Perhaps unsurprisngly, that feedback really wasn’t all that good.
We’ve had some 40+ comments on the story, mostly telling tales of how the NBN has left various readers behind either completely, or by delivering a fairly lacklustre service at best.
Long-time reader Sujay told us that he’s lived in an NBN FTTN area for some time, and that he’s likely to be eligible for a free/discounted FTTP upgrade in the next year or so as part of the recent fibre network expansion:
Currently, my FTTN NBN can only manage a maximum speed of 52Mbps. Fortunately my suburb was one of the lucky ones to be announced (in September) as being moved to FTTP. I just hope they don’t skip my street. But knowing my luck, they most likely will.
Many users told us that despite being connected to the NBN, they struggled to get decent speeds. Many told us of speeds worse than the decades old ADSL1 standard, which is really shocking in 2020:
- Dave M doesn’t live far from a CBD, and can’t get more than 10mbps speed on a 50mbps plan.
- Brian lives in a capital city and can get around 40mbps on a FTTN connection. It’s improved recently, but only a little.
- Alex has a maximum line speed of 16mbps which drops out a number of times a day. Alex was quoted $25,000 to upgrade to FTTP.
- Jim has a 50mbps NBN plan, and struggles to get 5.5mbps, just over 10% of what his plan should deliver.
- Terry from Toowoomba can’t get NBN at all, and makes do with ADSL2 at just 3mbps on a good day.
- Leo can’t get more than 28mbps, and Richard from Lexton VIC can only get NBN satellite, and has opted to stay on ADSL for now with a woeful 1mbps connection.
Richard isn’t alone; there are others who’ve told us they’ve stuck with ADSL instead of going to oversubscribed NBN Fixed Wireless, or worse on NBN Satellite. Others have ditched NBN and fixed line completely and opted for a 4G solution.
Reader Paul moved from a dreary slow NBN connection at just 4-12mbps to a 4G connection which delivers a constant 40mbps or more. Smart move! Duncan lives in a fibre-served apartment, but uses 4G and will move to 5G soon for a better service.
Klaus from Pymble NSW – a fairly affluent suburb on the north shore – doesn’t have NBN and won’t for another six months or so. He uses Optus 4G at home but speaks of having had better Internet options in Africa many years ago. He’s not alone in thinking Australia’s internet offerings are pretty embarrassing.
Probably the most surprising anecdote was that from Michael, who lives just 36km from Sydney’s CBD and the only option available to him is NBN Sky Muster, which can be very expensive for much lower data inclusions, and it’s slow / laggy to boot.
It’s all well and good for the government to say the NBN is built .. but the experience of every day Australians tells us that it’s far from complete, and even in places where it is supposedly built, the real-world speed, reliability and experience are far from where they should be.
Those in fibre to the premise areas (and, to a certain degree, HFC and FTTC) should be very grateful that their experiences are mostly pretty damned good. Those stuck with FTTN, FTTB and worse, satellite and wireless, are seemingly having a much worse time of it.
It’s just about 2021; we deserve a better national broadband network than this.