FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Eligible fixed-line customers in the North Burnett are still waiting for the NBN to arrive. Is it worthwhile making the switch?
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Eligible fixed-line customers in the North Burnett are still waiting for the NBN to arrive. Is it worthwhile making the switch? David Nielsen

Is NBN worthwhile for regional customers?

AS THE North Burnett holds its breath for the highly-anticipated arrival of the National Broadband Network, an independent study on Australia's high-speed internet plans delved into the disparity experienced between urban and regional customers.

Roll-out commenced in the region in April, but 1900 customers eligible for fixed line connections in Gayndah, Mundubbera and Monto have been told they may have to wait until April next year.

Many would-be customers are still on the fence about whether it's worth making the switch.

The third Measuring Broadband Australia report, prepared for the Australian competition watchdog by UK-based data firm SamKnows, monitors the performance of NBN services from major telco providers.

The most recent study zeroed in on the difference in busy hour broadband performance between urban and regional NBN services.

Urban services, classed as those provided in towns with a population of more than 10000, were unsurprisingly found to receive higher speeds, but the difference isn't as bad as you might think.

Urban areas received 84.8 per cent of maximum speeds on average, compared with 83 per cent per cent in regional areas.

The good news for customers is that broadband speeds did not slow significantly during busy hours (7-11pm), with average speeds across all busy hours reducing by just 1 percentage point compared with the average.

For residents and business owners considering making the switch, NBN services were found to significantly outperform ADSL.

NBN plans sold with a maximum speed of 25 Mbps are, on average, achieving speeds of 22.7 Mbps during the busy hour - three times faster than those recorded for ADSL.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said telcos were working hard to contact customers whose connections aren't able to deliver the promised speeds.

"We encourage customers who aren't getting the speeds they expected to contact their internet service provider to see if they need to change plans,” he said

"We'll continue to closely monitor the progress of industry in remedying this issue.”

"It's pleasing that the Measuring Broadband Australia program is being taken very seriously by internet service providers and is delivering noticeable improvements.”

Overall, 69 per cent of all tests continued to achieve download speeds of above 90 per cent of maximum plan speeds, while seven per cent of tests recorded less than 50 per cent of the maximum.

The ISP with the fastest broadband this quarter was TPG followed by Aussie Broadband, iiNet, Optus, Telstra and MyRepublic, the latter picking up speed considerably on last quarter.


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