Despite some highly-publicised recent criticism of the service, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has given the NBN a pass mark after its first round of speed testing.
The findings, published as part of Measuring Broadband Australia show that NBN services from four major ISPs are now delivering between 80 and 90% of the maximum plan speeds during busy evening hours.
It comes just days after the ACCC announced that 75,000 Australians would be entitled to refunds from eight ISPs following a series of false maximum speed claims.
ACCC Chairman, Rod Sims, said the results exceeded expectations.
“These first test results are better than expected, and indicate the majority of internet service providers are now delivering very close to their maximum plan speeds,” he said.
“The relatively high average speeds during peak periods indicate to us that retailers are now providing enough network capacity to meet demand in peak usage periods, including on the top speed plans.”
61,000 individual download speed tests were performed on the 25,50 and 100 Mbps and ADSL services of iiNet, Optus, Telstra and TPG between 7 and 11pm.
Optus performed the poorest, at an average of 80.7% of maximum plan speed.
This was followed by iiNet (88.6%), Telstra (88.1%) and TPG (90.7%).
Additionally, the findings also showed that average download speeds only dipped around 0.5% during busy hours.
However, not all users were left satisfied.
Five per cent of services tested were found to operate at less than 50% of their maximum plan speeds.
“The results for some types of services are still lower than we would like, but the overall results go against the current wisdom that the majority of consumers and businesses are having issues with NBN speeds,” Sims said.
Sims did acknowledge however, that the controversial network had come a long way.
“It is highly likely that just a few months ago these results would not have been anywhere near as good.”
The speed tests were welcomed by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), with CEO Teresa Corbin highlighting the need for transparency.
“There is an obvious need for clear and accurate consumer information on what to expect from broadband services,” she said.
“The ACCC’s results make broadband speeds more transparent.
‘With this information, consumers in NBN’s fixed technology footprint can have more confidence in choosing NBN services provided by these top 4 retailers.”
Shadow Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, also supported the findings.
“The findings that major retail providers are delivering over 80 per cent of maximum speed plans during busy hours is an encouraging development,” she said.
“This report shows the ACCC’s monitoring, in conjunction with NBNCo’s wholesale pricing discounts, are combining to deliver the speeds consumers should have been receiving from the outset.”