Australia's Internet Still Sucks

Image: Supplied

Time for a quick pop quiz. What does Thailand, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and South Korea all have in common? They've all got substantially better internet than Australia.

The sobering figures are part of the latest quarterly State of the Internet report released by cloud and content delivery network Akamai. There's not much in there to make Australians happy: we're 50th in the world when it comes to average Internet access speeds, and the figures only get worse from there.

Australia's average connection speed for hardline broadband in the third quarter of 2016 was a hopeless 9.6Mbps. That's below the average 11.3Mbps users got in New Zealand or the 11.7Mbps for Thailand. The average connection for Taiwan in the quarter was 14.9Mbps, while Japan's was a flat 18Mbps. (South Korea remains the world leader at 26.3Mbps, in case you're interested.)

Images: Akamai

23% of Australians only get average internet speeds of less than 4Mbps. The average load time for hardline connections was 3776ms as well.

That's substantially slower than New Zealand (2321ms), worse than Vietnam (3017ms), Thailand (3127ms) and Malaysia (3510ms) barely better than Sri Lanka (4006ms).

Oh dear.

But don't worry: eventually, we'll all have the NBN one day. Or at least 5G by the time it's finished.


Comments

    the only thing i find mildly surprising is that NZ beat us

    if you've been to any asian country you'll realise how behind our tech is, not just in regards to the internet, it's just slightly more stark if you go to HK or Tokyo

      big thing to note however is those places are so much smaller than us and not as spread out as us

        That's the other thing about the NBN working against us.

        Even if one removes the political element, our spare population complicates financial turn over to support the infrastructure.

        But worst still, mentioning this fact gets one branded as an uninformed skeptic. Many don't care about the complications, they just want fibre to the home.

          Canada has similar population density as Australia according world bank and they are 25th with 30% having +15Mbs.

            Then maybe our local pollies should learn form the Canadian's how to pull it off as both sides have no idea here.

              It would have been done so much cheaper and better if labour continued with the initial plan. But libs walked in and messed it all up.

            Similar? It's a whole extra person per km more dense than us... When we're talking 2.8 to 3.8 per km, this is not even in the same ballpark.

              Average over the country isn't relevant. Australia's urbanisation is proportionately greater then Canada's and therefore for network purposes should be considered to be more densely populated, not less.

            Although Canada has the advantage of most of their major cities being right next to the US border.

          Thing is, that doesn't have to be an issue for all deployments. Realistically, the NBN should've already been rolled out in areas with high population density (Melbourne/Sydney, etc) due to the radically superior cost efficiency and benefit of doing so, regardless of whether it's FttN or FttH.

          Getting good internet to rural areas is absolutely something that should be done, but the whole NBN concept has been bundled in a way where the areas that would be (relatively) cheap, easy and quick to deploy it are shuffled towards the back of the queue. From an efficiency standpoint, it's absolute madness and serves as blatant pandering for the rural vote.

            Not only did it move the capital cities to the end of the queue, the NBN has also resulted in stagnation for all other infrastructure: why try to improve the current ADSL infrastructure (e.g. fix corroded copper cables), when it will all be ripped out and replaced with fibre in a few years.

            Under the original plan that might have made sense, but the reorganisation mandated by the LNP seems to have effectively delayed everything by around 3 years.

          Darn straight I want fibre. I live in a well-populated suburb 20min from the CBD of one of the largest cities in the country. I look forward to finally getting an NBN connection sometime "before they finish the rollout in 2020," according to their published plans, and I highly doubt they'll hit that 2020 deadline. Dense population centres could have funded (or supplemented government funding for) the infrastructure for regional areas, but no, they started with the outlying areas, and wondered why they kept running out of money.

          Agreed we have geography working against us so why do we make politically charged compromises in technology.

          Well the main issue we have is that when it comes to the Liberals, only Malcolm Turnbull knows anything at all about I.T, whilst the rest of the party have no idea at all what their on about. At the last election Barnaby Joyce said (on Q&A) that we don't need anything faster than 50mbps. What a joke.

          By spare population, perhaps you mean sparse population, wrong we have a highly dense population. Long high capacity fibre optic lines, cost little, they then go to huge dense capital and regional cities. We're not a subsistence economy, farming and mining are capital and machine intensive. Not worker intensive, hence FIFO, what other workers would put up with that. My tiny city of Burnie, 17,000 is very dense, hence NBN, fttn, in 3 months time. Fibre optic to the premises, would make more sense, it costs so little extra. I've had the household electricity out 10 times, because the modem fused, due to crappy copper. Australia one of the most urbanised countries in the world, but still garbage internet, on an economy that's 70% service industries.

        This is a pretty huge furphy. The vast majority of Australia's population is actually highly concentrated, and even just hooking up the state capitals, Newcastle, the Gold Coast and Canberra with decent broadband would bring up the average to world-competitive levels

    Would be higher if they rolled out the NBN based on population density and not political motivated agendas... most City Inner Suburbs are still listed as "Planned" with no estimated date.

    Also they would of be recouping profits for higher users earlier so they wouldnt be crying poor with 4 years on the project left to go.

      ^ This.

      Even under Labor, priority was given to roll out fibre to Farmer John's out house just to secure his one stray vote to secure the seat while Path-E-Tech in Sydney isn't even given the time of day.

      Now we have a MTM that is being pushed even in the face of FttDP but the motivational playbook is still the same.

      Last edited 12/01/17 1:31 pm

        Out of interest, what is your current average speed?
        At my regional address im currently sitting on 800kb/s while most of my friends that live in the city are getting 4MB/s.

        The other day while doing a speed test it actually maxed out at a whole 50 bytes.....

          Out of interest, what is your current average speed?

          Too low. Call me childish but as a former cloud computing academic I refuse to acknowledge anything below 50 Mb/s as real world.

          I am pretty close to the Perth CBD and I get around 250-300kB/s (sometimes up to 350 when I am lucky)

          I'm 12kms from the Brisbane CBD and can get 2 mbps at most. During peak times (evenings) we get between 0.5-1mbps. No Netflix or YouTube for us unfortunately.

        If they hadn't rolled out the NBN to rural Australia, we would have NEVER gotten any improvement in these areas, especially if we had to wait for Telstra to do it voluntarily....
        You may have shitty broadband in the city, but at least you didn't have to rely on dial-up or 'mobile-broadband'.

          Rolling out in high density pop areas would have paid for the roll out of satellite/4G/5G to the more rural areas. And turned a profit. People that choose to live rurally deal with every other service being sub-par, thems the breaks.

          Last edited 13/01/17 9:06 am

    I play Destiny online via two paper cups and a piece of string to the nearest exchange. Looking forward to the upgrade from string to fiber with two paper cups this year.

    I play Destiny online via two paper cups and a piece of string to the nearest exchange.

    Worst part is that arrangement is still better and more reliable than copper connections.

    And I wish I was joking.

    And replies are broken again. This is in response to @wa1dofoo.

    Last edited 12/01/17 1:26 pm

    When's the last time the Australia Government didn't completely F'up a major infrastructure project?

    The Royal Adelaide Hospital is now the 3rd most expensive building EVER constructed. And there's a chance it will never open.

    Unless something changes Australia will be left behind this century, especially as technology continues to make the stuff we dig up from the ground and sell more redundant.

      .....THAT'S IT!

      [Somehow creates ore like veins of fibre and sets up a mining industry around it. Labor and the Coalition suddenly start hammering at the door and push for fibre to be our greatest resource.]

      Why didn't anyone think of this sooner?

        Thats the thing... Mining isnt our greatest industry / employer, its Information Technology and Communication careers.

        Yet we have a government more interested in supporting mining than innovative technology... will spend more mpney to build a new port ir railway for a mine than on telco infrastructure.

          Labor exhibited a lot of those traits as well. If I'm to be guilty of bias let it be because I have it in for Rudd/Gillard/Rudd's education minister during that time for not undoing the mistakes Howard's government left behind for education and IT.

          Unless the IT could garner votes, they didn't care either.

          Either way, I think I've voiced enough politics from myself for one thread. I actually hope this little project by SA Labor will finally show both the Coalition and the Federal Labor counterparts how it is done and finally silence the rhetoric from both sides at the federal level.

          Last edited 12/01/17 4:32 pm

            Reply to wisehacker: When it comes to the two main parties, whenever the topic of the NBN comes up they just blame each other, start arguing and then nothing gets done. And that's been the story for the past few years.

            That said, I'm lucky enough to have the NBN (100mbps connection) but I don't personally know anyone else who has it.

          Your not wrong, my copper lines, were blowing the electricity fuses, 10 times, took ages to work out, that it was the modem. I hope that the NBN node, has stopped that, still 3 months, till new copper modem upgrade. Perhaps I could use flag, or fire tower signalling, then my Facebook pictures would really get through.

          But I thought that the job of many, was to take an election campaign bribe, to supply a vast subsidy to an old industry. Whilst stopping a new industry, like solar, Virtual Reality, from getting a foothold. After all they don't employ anyone, mining, manufacturing and farming, are highly automated, capital speculation intensive. Don't you dare use a 3D printer, or high rise farming, that would cause too much tax revenue.

      Oh and dont forget Australian government funded the invention of both Fibre and WiFi...

      So we invent the technology, we cant afford to buy

        Don't forget the (misnamed) Black Box Flight Recorder.

        Or we sell it to Telstra after we start work on it.

    'Australia's average connection speed for hardline broadband in the third quarter of 2016 was a hopeless 9.6Mbps, or 960kb a second'

    Huh?..... 9.6Mbps is 9600Kbps or 1.2MBps

    b=bit
    B=Byte

    There are 8 bits in a byte.

    On topic, Australia is constantly being held back by conservative jerks. No surprises there.

      No, we are being held back by jerks; not just the conservative variety.

        Yep, it's safe to say both parties handled NBN poorly.

          One party had a good idea and screwed up the execution.
          The other party had a bad idea and have somewhat succeeded on the execution, which is too bad because it will all have to be re-done soon anyway

            It won't be redone soon though. Not until this generation and the next of politicians have moved on and some people with an idea of the potential benefits are brought onboard. I'd imagine we'll have this version of the NBN (with small incremental updates FttDp or whatever they want to call it now) for the next 50 years.

            Even then, unless there is some personal financial gain in it, no politician will endorse a re-do of the NBN.

              We're already dropping incredibly fast down the rankings as other countries deploy proper fibre infrastructure. As new technologies emerge that require larger and larger downloads Australia will simply be left behind and miss out. This means businesses will have to move out of Australia to be able to compete on a technological level. If they leave the FTTN in for 50 years it will be far too late.

              Hopefully some private enterprises will come in like Google Fibre and address the situation. The problem then is that they will cherry pick the best spots and we'll still have the problem of the "haves" and "have nots" which is one of the big reasons for the NBN in the first place.

        That's the thing though, both major parties are conservative autoritarian jerks by definition, but somehow people believe that labor represents the left side of politics... I hate Australian politics so much.

          Nope, definitely the Libs that have fucked it up.

          Labor's FTTP plans were going to future proof Australia's network, the only caveats being a longer roll out and a higher short term cost per premises.

          The Lib's FTTN plan has only a short term cost and time saving. The cost to run FTTN over FTTP is higher and negates any saving on this technology in as little as 6-7 years. And we will still be stuck in the early naughties by the time it's rolled out.

          It's fair to say the Lib's shafted us in this instance.

          http://valman.blogspot.com.au/2015/12/fttp-vs-fttn-when-is-spending-4400.html

          Among other studies that have been done.

            I know, i was talking in general, lib and labor are both conservative authoritarian. I saw the wind changing before Abbott was elected and we bought a property in the FTTP roll out area just prior to the election. To be fair, each home should have been given the option to not have the battery back-up for voip phone line bs that labor were offering, that would have saved millions and hastened the rollout. Labor should have abandoned the "needs based" principle at the very beginning, gone with the high density pop in the cities, that would have covered the cost of the rural areas and then some. On the lib side FTTN shouldn't even exist, such a waste of money and time. They are just blatantly wasting money, if not deliberately making sure only the people they select have access to fiber. Both sides have a lot to answer for in the debauchery of our most important infrastructure project of my lifetime. Thats one of the many reasons I hate our conservative oligarchy, both "sides".

            Last edited 13/01/17 7:02 pm

              Yeah. Labor's plan was better, but they're so far from "left" it's no longer funny. With both major parties so far on the right anything that's slightly to the left gets skewed to appear as some sort of radicalist viewpoint

    One time being in the desert is better, I get 94 down and traffic isn't an issue.

    Getting Fixed Wireless installed Feb 2nd even though my street is 200m from the current rollout. $22k to get wired to my house or Fixed Wireless. Yay. /s

    #thanksturnbull

    Im in a country town and just because the council pushed it (liberal), they got FTTN going quite soon in the 14,000 population area... its going live in my zone in 23 days.....they have been digging cable for a year.

    im going to do so much video..... =)

    I also hear Li Fi is getting rolled out with 5G??!? thats cool

    Last edited 12/01/17 2:26 pm

    Complaining about Australian internet is so tiring now -w-
    Have the NBN where I live and it seems to work as intended.

      Out of curiosity, are you on FTTP or FTTN? Or Satellite/wireless? Do you do much in the way of streaming, downloading or playing games any time between ~4pm to 12am?

        FTTP 100/40 Unlimited. Streaming video and playing games online whenever I'm home. Probably downloading games at the same time. The service has gone down a tad since iiNet was bought by TPG though.

        Last edited 13/01/17 9:15 am

          What area, if you don't mind me asking? Good on you though, you must be in one of the areas TPG bother to buy enough bandwidth! FWIW, I recently moved into a place with FTTP. I'm on 100/40 with Skymesh and I have to say I'm very happy with the service.

            I'm in the Latrobe Valley/Gippsland area. FTTN, 25/1. Can watch streames at 1080p no problem even when other people are using the internet. There are times during the day, which i assume is more people hopping onto the internet at the same time, where my internet can slow down. Around 12:30PM and 8PM and such.

              25/1 is below average. Hope you don't plan on uploading anything ever. It seems "decent" now because you were probably used to something like 4/0.5 but is already on the path to be too slow, and there's no way to upgrade FTTN.

              Just got HFC near Adelaide showgrounds, went from getting 4/1 to ~100/40 and it's amazing. Patching games and being able to use two computers at once is great. Being able to upload content and not wait six hours completely changes what work I'm able to do from home.

      And that is practically the definition of privilege.

      "I've got it, it's fine. You haven't got it? Stop complaining, it's boring hearing about how unfair life is."

      Well, I've got the NBN. Well, I've got an HFC connection they put onto my house 11 months ago. No service. They're saying I might get service over this connection in late 2018.

      Should I stop complaining? You're alright, of course.

    Depends where you are :P

    If you're in the suburbs you're fucked, but if you're close to a major city hub i.e. sydney melbourne etc most people will have cable available to them.

    at least until the nbn tells telstra and optus to stop selling it.

    I'm one of the very few who went from a good 15Mbps ADSL 2+ connection to NBN FTTN, clocks in at about 95 Mbps. paying for speed boosts etc. It is good!

    I'm in the Gippsland (victoria) area.

      I'm on NBN FTTP. It's utterly amazing. It's easy to forget how crapulent other people's connectivity is. I was on the phone with my sister just after Christmas and could hear my super-competitive 13 year old nephew going psycho because their 1Mb/S ADSL kept dropping out, causing him to lose at CS:GO. She was literally calling to ask me if I had any suggestions how they could improve their internet. The only one I had was... move?

      She lives on the other side of Brisbane (Ferny Hills) about 40 minutes from me.

      Last edited 13/01/17 8:35 am

        That's not unreasonable. When the missus and I were looking to build a place, she was on the real estate websites looking at the land available and I was on nbnco website looking at the roll out at the same time. If FTTP wasn't available within 1 year (time it would take to build and move in, settle etc) we disregarded the property. Fast fwd to 3 months after we move in and the nbn was being installed and its been roses ever since (18 months ago). In the build plan we paid the extra for CAT6 throughout the house and to be the extension to the pit out the front of the neighbours place (all building at the same time). The neighbours all hadn't even though about it and put copper in (herp).

        Last edited 13/01/17 9:23 am

        I live in Ferny Hills and I am on Telstra Cable. I am currently getting 115 Mbps all day (Speedboost enabled) for $89.90/mo for 500 Gbytes quota with three free top-ups per year, so you could suggest them to switch to this if they don't mind using Telstra. This is surprisingly slightly faster than my Telstra Velocity Fiber connection in South Brisbane at 107 Mbps at best.

        Also there is HFC NBN (NBN being delivered over the existing coaxial pay tv cable) being deployed in our suburb now, so its all happening.

          I suggested that but, unfortunately, they're on the northern side of Patricks road and no HFC passes their house.

          Apparently MTM NBN is being deployed in their area with a March 2017 go live. Here's hoping it's a genuine upgrade.

            Thanks roundtable,
            Would like to hear what infrastructure they got (FTTN or FTTP) and what "real" speeds they get if they subscribe to an NBN 100/40 Mbps based plan.
            I am in Barber Road, and it looks like that most of us have coax cable in the street to the house (strung along the power poles). So looks like NBN will be piggy backing off this infrastructure (as HFC) in March for us.

        well on my NBN FTTP 10/40, I need to disconnect it and plug my ADSL back in to get a decent connection

      I'm in the Gisspland area as well and the NBN must be alright here. Which is funny since we are 2 hours, East of Melbourne.

    this may seem like a stupid question, but howcome if i can get around 90mbps on my phone using 4g why cant modems just use the same technology?

      Reliability, consistency, distance to tower, and signal noise. Mobile is great until interference kicks in, or too many people try to connect to the same tower. One of the good analogies I've heard was it's like you and a buddy having a conversation in a room by yourselves. You can hear each other fine. But as more and more people come into the room and also start talking, you have to start shouting. Eventually nobody can hear shit.

    You know what else they all have in common?

    They're tiny. If we were delivering an NBN style project to NSW only then everyone would have fibre. We aren't so we don't have fibre. Pretty much the end of the story. Sure the rollout has been a debacle and the technology isn't the greatest but attempting to run a strand of fibre to every single household in Australia is a ridiculous idea.

      About as ridiculous as running copper down every street then CAT6 to the house?

    Wish for FTTP all you want but guess what, its just as bad as FTTN and worse than ADSL. during times I am at home and awake, my FTTP 100/40 connections runs 3 times SLOWER than my ADSL which is still connected and what I have to use for any internet purpose.

    they want you to pay more fro a crappier connection and then the advise when its worse than ADSL is to "buy one of our 4g dongles and use that when nbn isn't working"

    Genius

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