Australian broadband to get a speed boost

Millions of Australian households will be able to access broadband speeds up to five times as fast by the end of 2024 after NBN Co revealed plans to revamp its offerings.

The company behind the National Broadband Network outlined the proposal on Tuesday, revealing 9.1 million homes and businesses could access the faster speeds by December, while an additional 1.1 million users could receive the upgrade by the end of 2025.

The broadband boost would follow a raft of upgrades from copper to full fibre-optic connections as part of a $2.4 billion investment in the network.

But the federal opposition questioned whether the upgrades would arrive fast enough and if they would come at a higher cost to consumers.

NBN Co revealed the speed boost could be offered to households and businesses connected to the network with fibre-to-the-premise and hybrid fibre coaxial technology.

The speed boost would see users on 100 megabit per second download plans upgraded to 500 Mbps, those on 250Mbps plans upgraded to 750Mbps, and others on the highest speed tier of up to 1000Mbps given a boost to their upload speed from 50 to 100Mbps.

Broadband users connected to the NBN with older copper or fibre-to-the-curb technology would be able to apply for a full fibre upgrade under the proposal if they ordered a 100Mbps service.

NBN Co chief customer officer Anna Perrin said the company made a decision to upgrade download speeds of its plans “at no extra wholesale cost to internet retailers” after seeing greater demand for data from users.

Data usage doubled in the past five years, according to NBN Co, with the average household downloading 443 gigabytes per month and connecting 22 devices to the internet.

“Despite this explosion in data usage, many customers have remained on the same broadband plan for years,” Ms Perrin said.

“Our networking monitoring suggests that some customers are potentially hitting their maximum speed on a regular basis.”

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said lifting the speed of broadband connections would be vital to supporting work and entertainment.

“Reliable, quality, high-speed internet is not a luxury or a nice-to-have – it is essential 21st century infrastructure,” she said.

“The government expects NBN to consult closely with its retail partners and work with them to enable these speed enhancements to be available for consumers are soon as practical.”

But Opposition communications spokesman David Coleman questioned why the upgrades would not arrive until December or later and whether the upgrades would add to household bills.

“NBN says the upgrade would come at no extra wholesale cost to retailers but what about the cost to consumers?” he said.

“Any increase to the cost of plans will make the NBN less competitive compared to other options such as 5G.”

NBN Co released details of its proposal in an industry white paper on Tuesday, and will seek feedback from internet retailers on issues including whether the changes could be implemented sooner and whether higher speeds could require new routers or modems.


Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson
(Australian Associated Press)


Like This