back to article Aussie broadband is slower than a slow thing in a slow town

So Australia is building a superfast fibre to the home (FTTH) national broadband network and not a minute too soon. Last week's survey from Akamai, a company that charges clients hefty sums for making their websites run faster, shows the country ranked a dismal 50th place in the global broadband speed league with an average …

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Exageration?

"shows the country ranked a dismal 50th place in the global broadband speed league with an average speed of 2.6Mbps, behind even New Zealand (42nd and 2.9Mbps)...Yes, it's that bad."

Well I think their distraught is a bit exaggerated. 2.6Mbps isn't too bad at all.

Until recently, on cablevision in the suburbs of NYC, we experienced irregular dropouts (0bps) for 15 minutes a day (I measured them), this lasted for a year before they fixed their lines.

I would have gladly taken a reliable 2Mbps over shoddy 5Mbps, but cablevision has a 100% broadband monopoly in the region.

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The key word is average.

I don't know whether you think every Australian has access to a reliable connection with a minimum speed, but considering ADSL2+ subscribers within 1km of an exchange and on a good quality ISP receive 24Mb/s, and there are cable subscribers in limited areas on 30Mb/s in this country, there's a long way to fall to bring the average down to 2.6...

There are vast swathes of this country that have no access to ADSL at all, even within major cities, because all the telephone lines in the country are owned by a single, formerly government owned, company, and this company has grown fat, lazy, stupid and spendthrift.

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Anonymous Coward

Telstra is the problem...

Most people with Telstra are probably on 256k connections still, or 1.5M at best because they charge excessively for anything else, anyone with half a brain not to go with Telstra who has access to a non-Telstra port in their exchange would be on ADSL2+ which would be well above 2M in most cases.

Telstra is the biggest problem with broadband in this country, regardless of how many millions if not billions the last Liberal government handed over for them to uprgade the Telstra exchanges so more people could at least get access to broadband...

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@Sorry that handle is already taken.

"I don't know whether you think every Australian has access to a reliable connection with a minimum speed"

No, I wouldn't presume so, just saying the study didn't appear to take into account quality or reliability. Although point taken, averages aren't representative like medians.

"good quality ISP receive 24Mb/s, and there are cable subscribers in limited areas on 30Mb/s in this country"

Really? Wow I'm impressed, this speed is unheard of for residential cable users in the US.

Regarding the lack of access to competition, I can sympathize with that.

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So what you're saying is....

That Telstra is just like BT. Except that BT don't have geography quite as "challenging" as Telstra to blame, twice as many potential victims/customers and still manage to arse it up to an astounding degree.

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Re: The key word is average

Wow, and I thought BT was bad. At least they had some foresight and have made a bit of effort.

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@JasonW

With regards Telstra's challenging geography it should be noted that, although the country is a large one, around 50% of the population live in just 3 cities (10.5m out of around 21m in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) therefore it shouldn't be to hard to up the average although people will, on average, live further from the exchange - I'm 5kms from the city centre yet about 3kms from my local exchange. They do own the cable network as well it should be remembered. However, as previously mentioned they are extremely lazy and charge like a wounded rhino and I believe that their pricing has been the real issue all along...

http://go.bigpond.com/broadband/

This is only a recent change as 50GB used to cost over $100/mth but they must have been losing customers hand over fist and decided a little competition on their part wouldn't be a bad idea. Up until now I paid $89.95 (GBP 51.77) for 25GB of bandwidth which is daylight robbery - when you own the phone and the cable network it's easy to charge like this. Lack of regulatory oversight also helps.

Thanks to this article and navigating their site for prices I've just saved $20 a month and upped my bandwidth by 25GB as the bastards hold you on the old plan at an inflated price even when you're out of contract if they change their product offerings. They don't even notify you, which is also nice. BT's bastard love-child relative for sure.

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Stop

You're being robbed!

I just updated my old Telstra plan of $130 a month for 100Gb to $90 a month for 200Gb. This is with the elite cable package, so my speed is the fastest the country has to offer. (Being in Sydney and at the end of a handy fiber optic loop for a business park across the valley)

I know not everyone can get the speed but the pure download for dollar of these latest plans isn't terrible.

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Alert

They don't need it!

Gonna ban porn soon!

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Anonymous Coward

We need faster internets because

We need to download it all while we still can!

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Anonymous Coward

Don't worry.

I've burned the entire internet to a CDRW. If you need a copy ill burn you one.

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We'll get both...

With Labor imploding in a flurry of leaks and internal scandals, suddenly the Libs may take the elections. Which means we'll probably get the worst of both worlds: NBN cancelled *and*the Internet filter (*)

(*) Some people here tend to forget that the Liberal Party hasn't *really* come out in opposition to the filter, but is rather worryingly mute. Add the ultra-Xian Mad Monk and I wouldn't bet a farthing on them not continuing the filter rubbish.

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Coat

Internet filter

Last i heard they have spoken against it.... but not loudly.

They seem to have the stance of "we oppose it purely because our opposition supports it".

To be honest the NBN is a big old waste of cash considering at least 3 tenders came forth offering to do it for a fraction of the price (we're talking high hundred millions instead of multiple billions).

Factor in government incompetence (re: every project doubling its cost over a 5 year period, ad infinitum) and this NBN is going to cost a hell of a lot more than it is worth.

Even if that does give me access to all the porn the Labour government lets me have because i need to be protected from myself and to learn we were always at war with Eastasia and Eurasia was always our ally.

Mine is the one with a copy 1984 in the pocket.

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Bah, I'm not holding my breath.

Internet here now is overpriced and underperforming. Promise the earth and deliver a mouse fart.

Everyone who comes from overseas says our speeds are a practical joke.

Heck, even downloading from local mirrors is slower (significantly!) than getting it from a US or asian mirror. No really.

And yet, to make it go faster, they're telling us it's going to cost even more.

Besides, like the last poster said, it'll be a moot point anyway, without porn the NBN will be yet _another_ white elephant.

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Happy

Over the ditch..

They just upgraded broadband this year in my suburb (to ADSL2+). I now get 9.7 down & .9 up. Not bad now I take a look at the average speeds people are receiving.

I'll still bitch about it bring too slow though :)

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100Mbs

Fantastic. I'll be able to exceed my monthly download quota in a matter of minutes. But the three web sites that the government will let me see after the filter's imposed will load really fast!

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Big Brother

Do Not Want...

To further what previous posters have alluded to,

Yes the ruling party touts the benefits of their high speed connection with feel good

propaganda ads on tv,"Think of the Children" kind of stuff,they will have accelerated

learning opportunities and unlimited access,

All well and good but keeping in mind that this is all backed by one Mr Stephen Conroy,

Communications Minister for the ruling faction who with a reverence verging on madness

and a foaming of the mouth that makes Cujo look like a puppy with a playful streak wanted to

institute the"Great Firewall of Australia" forcing the ISP's to block anything that he considered not to his taste.

-"A government big enough to supply you with everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have...." -

They can keep their grandiose Orwellian plans and i will keep my freedom...Thanks.

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Stop

NBN is a dead duck

$43bn to deliver a fibreoptic cable to every premises - sounds fine. But they're going to charge accordingly - so most people will find it unaffordable. It's never going to happen.

What they need to do is renationalise the infrastructure (ducts, cable, etc) from the government-department-cum-private-company-with-most-shares-still-owned-by-the-government and upgrade them, and then hire that out to resellers on a pay-per-megabyte basis. Hopefully that way we get some actual competition in the market and the service will get better.

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FAIL

Renationalise infrastructure

Nope. All that does is burden the public purse. There's no demand for an efficient implementation as the government will try to roll out to 'everyone' where there's no desire.

It's better for commercial companies to roll out fibre where it's cost effective and tehy can turn a profit, and the government intervene only where there is a public need or significant demand which could not otherwise be met.

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I don't live in Australia, but...

honestly, with even a 1mbps connection I can watch youtube if I want, pages load fine, and games? They rely on low latency, not high bandwidth. 2.9mbps is fine. However..

The BIG problems I see? (I'll use numbers from where I live in the US but I think Australia has similar problems).

1) People that can't get anything. Well, here in the US in reality most people who claim they can't get "anything" really can get wireless broadband from Verizon Wireless, but it's $60 for a 5GB cap, so really they can't get anything too good. Or there's satellite, it's also very costly. Bringing me to....

2) TOO EXPENSIVE. I have a aircard right now, on a grandfathered unlimited plan, and my speed is adequate -- around 1mbps. But, as I say above, people can't even get that any more. I keep it for the use on the road, but I also can't get anything much cheaper! I can get 40mbps service, but it's like $100 (it's fiber-to-the-node, with copper to the house). If I go from that to the minimum the cable *or* phone company will give, 1.5mbps, it's still something like $45 a month. They constantly advertise "$20 a month" but that is for like 3 months, then the price jacks up to normal. There's some cities here where, if you want to settle for like 1.5mbps or so it's about $15 a month. But not here!

What they should really do (both in Australia, and in the US) is, rather than making sure people who can already get a fast connection can get an even faster one, try to improve speeds for those whose best speed is below, say, 5mbps. And try to make an affordable option available as widely as possible. In Australia I think cost may be a bigger consideration!

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Stop

The Problem with that is..

The problem that is, is that its cheaper to improve the speeds for those who are already getting great speeds.

I know this one's a bit extreme, but:

Think of Alice Q. Public, out there in the middle of the "Never Never" (outback). ADSL isnt an option - never mind a Phone line less than 7Km, her Driveway is 7Km long! Laying out a whole lot of celltowers to cover huge spaces of "nothing" isn't practical, neithers a few 100Km worth of Fibre cable. Her only option is a couple of Megabit (if she's lucky) on Satelite.

Compare this with her big-city cousin Sydney Public. She lives in a very densely populated area with lots of city slickers. Due to the huge demand for landlines, there's a few exchanges in her city, and the lines aren't that long. The costs of any improvements can be split between her, and her relatively densely-packed neighbours.

The moral of the story is, if you want fast internet, move somewhere where its cost effective to provide it to you, and don't expect the majority to pay for the minority.

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Not quite true

There are other options being looked at for remote areas, such as microwave links.

You can get well over 100Mb/s on a MW link, with low latency and, from a small mast, ranges of 100 km are feasible. 150km has been achieved but you do need a mast the height of say Ayers Rock...

Yes they are susceptible to rain fade/dust depending on the frequency used, but they can be very cheap to install and run. You could be up and running for about AUD $2K . Not great for mission-critical apps but then 'Alice' probably isn't that way inclined.

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Damned if we do, damned if we don't.

Labour want to build the Fibre network and filter it. The others want to build something else instead, but havn't said what, and are strangly silent about the filter. We vote in two weeks. What to do, what to do. The Greens may get the balance of power in the senate, pro-fibre, maybe pro-filter.

Damned if we do, damned if we don't. Sad when you have to vote for the lesser of two evils because there's nothing else.

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Big Brother

@Roger Jenkins - FYI Greens' stance on filter

I think the Australian Greens are against the filter

http://greensmps.org.au/content/speech/internet-filtering

according to this speech.

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Paris Hilton

Not just a technical issue

There are an enormous amount of idiots here on old plans from Telstra Bigpond (the largest ISP) and paying double for a fraction of the speed and download quota they can get from competitors, or even from Bigpond themselves if they simply called up and asked to be moved to a different plan.

Yes, large parts of the country are underserved, but a boatload of ignorant consumers are on slow, expensive connections due to their own inability to shop around.

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Unhappy

BT (Bloody Terrible)

And in the UK BT is working on its 21CN (21st Century Network) attempting to get speeds other countries were aiming for in the 20th century. They're not even trying to compete. Unless it's for the wooden spoon?

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Big Brother

Ahh the conservatives started it

I believe the conservative party of Australia actually initiated the filter. This whore here: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/senators/homepages/senators.asp?id=2M6

That's why there appears to be no opposition to it.

At least Gillard is an atheist - so sick to death of religious leaders in this supposedly secular state.

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Ahh the conservatives started it - Except they didn't

The liberals provided a 'Net-Nanny' style PC-based filter that you could download, free of charge, from your ISP. It wasn't compulsory, it wasn't whole-network based and, it seems, it wasn't downloaded a hell of a lot either.

Of course the latter fact was seized upon by Conrod who decided that the reason for the poor takeup was that it was all too hard for the poor timid public and something had to be done 'for their own good'.

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Unhappy

Pah!

Gillard may be an atheist, but her puppet-masters in the Labour party as still militant Christians. Senator Conroy was in fact one of the higher-ups in the faction that pushed Gillard into power after Rudd's fall...

So we are still doomed to a religious parliament, no matter who we vote for...

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FAIL

Censored.....Bonk! (Sound of rubber stamp)

What's the point, if the Aussie government is determined to censor their internet out of existence? It'll be only GOOD AND WHOLESOME THINGS that you'll be able to legally download at speed. Proxy lists, anyone?

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Coat

Slower than New Zealand

I thought that was a general principle?

As in " every time someone emigrates from NZ to Oz, the average IQ of both countries goes up."

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Rob Muldoon

That particular wee quote gem was popularised by then Prime Minister Rob Muldoon, back in the day.... He was a very clever wee gnome of a man! Made a great Narrator in the NZ stage production of Rocky Horror too, after he left parliament.

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thanks for that

I could NOT remember the name.

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UK?

Was the UK still in last place as it has always been?

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even *getting* broadband in Australia is hard

I've just moved to Sydney and I am still waiting for my broadband to be connected after placing the order 3 weeks ago. Since the telephone line in my apartment was previously a Optus line, I have to have a Telstra engineer check the line from the exchange to the building and then Optus from the krone block to the apartment. Two engineer vistis for an operation that should ready need none.

In contrast my mother placed an order in New Zealand on Saturday afternoon and was connected by Tuesday. In Japan when I signed up for Yahoo Broadband, they hand you the modem if you sign up at one of their shops and it is active by the time you get home.

I have had broadband in 4 countries and this is by far the slowest to get installed. I wonder how it will perform once it actually gets installed.

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Pint

Slow Oz

Too right, I wondered why my Steam downloads were crawling at 3k t'other day, then I realised they were going thru Telstra servers in Oz - switched to New York and it ramped up to 700k. I'm in Auckland - I ask ye....

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Australia

Large country, small population, limited infrastructure...

You can't get blood from a stone.

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Just an excuse

@Winkypop - "Large country, small population, limited infrastructure..." is a poor excuse, Australia is one of the most urbanised countries around, the vast majority of the population lives in < 10 cities.

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Ahh Telstra

The phone company that makes BT customer service look hyper efficient. I once spent 3 hours being passed round different departments to resolve a billing issue, and in the process discovered they had multiple billing systems, but most departments couldn't access both.

I live in an area where there are a large number of new estates, most of the housing has been built in the last 5 years. We are stuck on ADSL if we're lucky, as Telstra decided to put in a sub-exchange, rather than a full exchange, so there is no room for the kit needed for ADSL2+.

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They don't really need superfast broadband tho

ABC has all the best shows in the world (they have the best of both BBC and PBS!) and that negates the need to torrent anything.

Now Malaysia. When you have nothing but crappy free-to-air TV stations and Pay TV providers that does either does not care about the viewers (they dropped BBC Entertainment in favor of some stupid home makeover channel goddamnit! How am I going to get my fix of Red Dwarf and the good doctor now!?!) or have appalling coverage, and oh, blocked from both iPlayer AND Hulu. Then you have every need for high speed broadband. Except that the monopolizing Telekom Malaysia (our version of Telstra/AT&T) is only planning to make the service available in selected areas, and mine apparently isn't one of them.

Fail. Need I say why?

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Big Brother

It is hopeless

It's not like we didn't know or there weren't enough evidence on what went wrong. But our average general public are too stupid.

Let's see:

1. Large amount of people still buy the story that Telstra is good for the country.

2. Most people still believe gov great wall of Aussie is good for the country.

3. Majority of people don't understand how our gov works.

4. Majority of people are too greedy, too stupid, too selfish, too easily controlled by who ever is in power.

What we really need:

1. Get rid of all of current blood suckers. Gov is meant to serve the public. The head of gov is not "leader" of public, NO he/she is the top servant of the public.

2. Get rid of our stupid tie to the queen or king of England.

3. Bill of rights that put power back to people's hand.

4. Ban all political correctness crap.

5. Ban all religions interfering with any gov policy or any law.

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@D.M

Really don't see how point 2 helps you in any way. I'd say that any politician that focuses on this should be ignored as they are clearly paying lip-service to public needs and going for a headline grabbing story to divert attention away from the fact that, despite it's huge mineral resources and solid-ish balance sheet (the States don't look as rosy), the infrastructure and services available in Australia are shithouse at best.

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This a is title

"...downloading illegal stuff from torrents..."

Illegal stuff? You mean like plans for a radioactive dirty bomb, or was that supposed to be 'illegally downloading stuff from torrents'? Although I suppose given the quality of a lot of todays music/movies/games...

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Grenade

@ it is Hopeless

I whole heartedly agree. However, it is a pipe dream and considering the pipe I use to connect that dream is trickling through at a couple of bytes per hour

The grenade because with the options I have in the upcoming election they can all suck on it We ask for leaders and we get to choose from a bunch of grubby corrupt little pissants

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Telstra is fun.

I Live in the state of Tasmania. We only have 3% of Australia's population living here on the island state. However Telstra owns the Fibre optic cable to the state, so naturally as a result of competition, its frozen the other companies out of tasmania, by having higer data costs on the cable than it costs to send data to the US.

Telstras exchanges could have adsl2 turned on, but dont so they dont have to wholsale the adsl2 services. The competition will only sell selstras wholesale services. Telstra will enable individaul ports to adsl 2 for permium customers, the pricing is terrible.

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Happy

You're a year out of date, competition is in Tasmania now.

Stop complaining and start investigating.

1. Aurora fibre across Bass Strait went live in June 09.

2. Internode has progressively been rolling out ADSL2+ in Tasmanian exchanges since then

I went naked ADSL2+ at the beginning of this year (about a month after my exchange went live with Internode). My old plan was 1.5Mb theoretical, usually about .9Mb, had 30% less download allowance, now I'm getting 9Mb/s (1.6km from exchange, old cabling inside house) and I no longer pay $22/month for a landline I never use).

Check out http://whirlpool.net.au/ to see if coverage is at your exchange yet.

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Coat

Oz bb reliable?

Mine (in Melbourne) always drops out when it rains hard. I normally get 3mb's from ADSL2+ (25k from the city-centre) so I guess I'm ahead of the game.

The other problem is that there isn't anything worth downloading in Oz, so it all has to come across the pacific over a piece of soggy string. Shopping online from Oz providers isn't generally any cheaper or quicker than shopping online and getting things shipped from the US, UK or HK. In fact, it is usually cheaper and quicker to buy from abroad. Even the shipping internationally is often cheaper than local postage.

Telstra is also a major problem. They own a lot of the infrastructure and charge twice as much as everyone else. Competition isn't something retailers do in Oz in any area.

Icon: yep, they're taking your wallet

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Amen to the internet shopping part

You can buy your books from the book depository in the UK and get them sent to Oz for half the price they cost locally. Get them billed in local currency too at a reasonable rate. Completely nuts.

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Heart

I believe the term is....

"Sucks to be you"

From a concerned NZ'er ;)

I'm a happy Orcon customer, whose equipment in the exchanges spanks that of the incumbent Telecom (the Telstra/BT of NZ). Go LLU!

NZ also has a fibre-to-the-door 10 year plan (currently being semi-tendered). We'll see in 10 years just how that's going....(i.e. whether the tendering has finished and work actually started).

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Not just the first mile

Of course it is in Akamai's interest to downplay the achievable speeds. Since their content distribution network removes a major cause of Australian customer --- US content underperformance, the 180ms latency between Sydney and the US west coast. Australia and South Africa are unique in that there are major performance issues outside of the first mile.

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