Tuesday, 07 May 2019 11:02

Optus customers experiencing more NBN outages: ACCC Featured

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ACCC chair Rod Sims: “It is good to see providers improving their performance in recent months, including those whose performance was seen to be lagging in our previous report." ACCC chair Rod Sims: “It is good to see providers improving their performance in recent months, including those whose performance was seen to be lagging in our previous report." Courtesy YouTube

Most NBN users experience less than one outage of 30 seconds or more a day, but Optus customers on average had to suffer through more than 1.5 outages each day, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's fifth report on NBN speeds.

This is the first time that outages (see chart below) have been measured in the Measuring Broadband Australia report, the fifth of which was compiled with data from about 1000 volunteers in February. [The results of the fourth and third reports are here and here.]

“We expect this new reporting to drive retailers to improve their service on outages, as it has with lifting speed performances,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

outages accc

“There are various reasons why an outage may occur, so we encourage consumers experiencing a high rate of drop-outs to contact their retail service provider to discuss whether they have a fault with their connection or modem.”

The report said that consumers experienced generally improved speeds on fixed-line NBN services during the last quarter, including during the peak evening period.

Download speeds had fallen during the previous testing period, which the ACCC said could be accounted for by the fact that RSPs were migrating customers to new wholesale products offered by the NBN Co.

The report said Exetel and Dodo/iPrimus both improved on their speed test performance. iiNet posted the biggest improvement for download speed during busy hours, while TPG achieved the highest percentage of its maximum download speed.

nbn speed accc

“It is good to see providers improving their performance in recent months, including those whose performance was seen to be lagging in our previous report,” Sims said.

“We believe the additional transparency and scrutiny provided by our monitoring program has helped lift speeds across RSPs.”

However, the report also said some consumers were continuing to experience under-performing services that never achieved anything close to the speeds advertised. This affected 13% of the volunteers in the program including one in four fibre-to-the-node customers who were on 50/20Mbps and 100/40Mbps plans.

“RSPs need to continue to monitor their networks to ensure their speed claims are realistic, and we expect NBN Co and RSPs to work harder together to help consumers achieve the speeds they are paying for,” Sims said.

“We will be watching to see how companies respond to customers who aren’t getting the advertised speeds on their current plans, and we will act on misleading speed and performance claims made by providers.

“Consumers should also ask whether their service could be being affected by in-house wiring issues, which in many cases can be remedied through a visit from a technician.”

Graphics: courtesy ACCC

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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