Australia has fallen even further behind the rest of the world in internet speeds, ranking 62nd in the world for fixed broadband.
The latest Speedtest Global Index, a monthly ranking of mobile and fixed broadband speeds around the world, places Australia a further three spots down from the previous month, as the NBN again becomes an election issue.
According to the report, Australia’s average fixed broadband download speed is 35.11 megabits per second (mbps), well below the global average of 57.91mbps.
This places Australia below countries including Cape Verde, Kazakhstan, Montenegro and Moldova.
Labor has used the report to attack the government’s handling of the National Broadband Network (NBN), with shadow communications minister Michelle Rowland pointing to an Akamai report that ranked Australia 43rd in the world for average connection speed when the Coalition was elected in 2013.
Ms Rowland also said that New Zealand currently has speeds two and a half times faster than Australia.
“New Zealand successfully stuck with its plan to deploy fibre to the premises, and reduced the cost of deploying fibre by 44 percent,” Ms Rowland said.
“In contrast, the Liberals abandoned fibre on the false pretence that halting the rollout and switching to copper and hybrid fibre coaxial would be cheaper and faster.
“This calculation failed – as the copper and HFC rollout is now $21.4 billion over budget and four years behind what they promised to deliver.”
The Opposition recently announced its own plans for the NBN if it wins the upcoming May election, including a review of the economics of the NBN and a series of “targeted upgrade trials” of existing infrastructure.
But Labor admitted that the NBN rollout will be mostly completed by mid-2020, and that there are “realities that cannot simply be undone”.
“Labor’s focus, therefore, is how to position the NBN for the future,” Ms Rowland said. “And that includes a pathway for future upgrades.”
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the Labor policy “amounts to no more than a trial and review”.
“The Coalition’s policy has become Labor’s policy,” Senator Fifield said. “Labor’s announcement...is a complete capitulation.”
But Ms Rowland said that Australians will have a clear choice when considering the issues surrounding the NBN during the election campaign.
“This election is a choice between a Shorten Labor government with a plan for improving the NBN, or more cutting corners from the Liberals,” she said.
“Our plan will improve reliability and speeds for up to 750,000 fibre to the node households, by addressing in-home cabling issues that degrade NBN service quality, at no cost to the end user.”
The new report follows revelations earlier this year that there were almost 160,000 missed NBN technician appointments in the last financial year, with nearly half of them taking place in the last three months.
An ACMA report last year also found that 40 percent of Australian SMEs have experienced NBN outages, with one in seven businesses being left without phone or internet for more than a month.