Australia Finally Gets Gigabit Internet Today

Australia Finally Gets Gigabit Internet Today
Image: South Park

If you’re one of the very lucky people with the best fibre or one of the luckiest folk in a HFC area, today is a very good day indeed.

Today marks the rollout of some new plans across the national broadband network: 250/25Mbps, and more importantly, a 1000/50Mbps offering. The two plans, along with the discounted 100/20Mbps offering that was launched last year, was announced in NBN Co’s wholesale price review.

Of course, naturally not everyone can get access to the new plans. ITNews reported this morning that only 7 percent of NBN HFC users will be able to access the 1000/50Mbps plan, but all users on fibre to the premises (FTTP) can order the plan.

So far, Aussie Broadband is the first out of the gate with the product. The company’s 1000/50 offering will be available for $149 a month with unlimited data, although the service is being sold as a “best effort” plan for now.

“We think that the plan should achieve off-peak speeds of up to 80-90%, depending on the technology type,” Aussie Broadband managing director Phillip Britt said.

Aussie Broadband also dropped the pricing on some of their other plans this week, with their 250/100 unlimited offering dropping to $209/month from $219, while their NBN 250/25 plan is now $129/month, down from $169. Aussie Broadband said the price drop on the 250/100 plan was specifically targeted at gamers as well. “We understand that some gamers are seeking higher upload speeds, so we have reduced the price of our 250/100 unlimited plan from $219 to $209 to meet the needs of those customers,” Britt told Kotaku Australia.

“We think [the 250/100 and 1000/50 plans] will appeal to gamers, any households with high numbers of people streaming and early adopters,” Britt said.

Those stuck on fibre-to-the-curb (FTTC) connections, however, might be able to get higher tier plans soon. In comments to CommsDay this week, NBN Co’s Brad Whitcomb said the company was trialling upgrades on their FTTC lines.

“As we are in the throes of continuing to add capacity to accommodate this big surge through COVID, we don’t want to be in a situation where somebody is getting their 250, and that’s somehow compromising the experience with somebody else in that shared bandwidth pool that might be on a lower speed plan,” Whitcomb was quoted as saying.

Whitcomb added that NBN Co expected gamers to flock to the 250 and 1000 plans the most, citing Call of Duty‘s enormous patch sizes as a reason why.

“We see these patches come out consistently. Last week Call of Duty came out with their patch that was a 32 gig file and, being a gamer myself, when you get home and you sit on the couch and break out your beverage of choice, and you go to play the game, and then it packed up and says, ‘Well, no, you’ve got to upgrade.’ You can’t play. You’ve got to wait until you’ve downloaded the new patch. Even on a 50Mbps service, that would take about an hour and 45 minutes to get that game downloaded. If you’re Ultrafast, that’s somewhere between five and 10 minutes – and that’s a completely different experience.”

The Aussie Broadband plans are expected to go live later this afternoon here. We’ll also update this story with some comparative widgets as they become available.


    • As I understand that t uploading out a lot more strain on the network than downloading, that might be the reason?

      • I believe they can cache popular downloads and host them internally.
        Whereas almost every upload is unique.

  • I’d say it’s more about pricing. IIRC NBN were originally supposed to offer 1000/250 as an option (probably available through the right business plan)

    • Wasnt quite at the start, but 1 Gbps was available not too long after FttP came out. Once you have fibre the whole way from the exchange to the property, its only the technology at each end you need to worry about, and the exchanges were made capable of 1 Gbps pretty early on. 2011-12 rings a bell for me, but I wouldnt be certain.

      It was never about being capable of it, it was always about the cost. The wholesale cost to the RSP was way too high to make it a retail product. So the providers never offered it.

      • This is the generally accepted view but it’s simply not the case. The problem with GPON fibre is it’s shared with 31 other premises. The price was secondary and a function of the fact the system simply can’t accomodate the theoretical peak of 32 Gigabits per second download on a shared fibre that is limited to 2.5Gbps, and that’s without any overhead. In reality the most throughput you can push down that passive fibre with the current system is approaching 2Gbps.

        Sure you could still theoretically get 1Gbps if all your neighbours were asleep and their NTDs were off, but that’s not something you could sell. It’s the reason 100Mbps plans were ‘financially encouraged’ to became the top tier.

        Now we know most homes aren’t interested in paying a premium for even 100Mbps, there’s the opportunity to sell a few 250Mbps down plans without throttling the thing but it’s still a compromise and will be until they decide to spend billions more on upgrading to XGPON/10GPON – assuming that’s ever going to be politically acceptable

        • GPON is the technology at the exchange. It doesnt change what I said – the exchanges were upgraded to be 1+ Gbps fairly early on. And while its a limiting factor its relatively straightforward to upgrade to XGPON or better – pull GPON out, put new one in.

          As for the sharing of that bandwidth, yup, totally correct. As data operates as a pulse though, it really doesnt matter. I went over it elsewhere but you really dont need much more than a single users total bandwidth to service that entire 32 fibre line.

          If a line is FttP capable it only needs about 180 Mbps (roughly 120/60) to service the entire line 100% of the time for 100/40 Mbps. A lot of ISP’s dont buy that much so the line effectively hits peak hour from 5-9pm and you see slowdowns.

          A 2.5/1.25 Gbps capacity should easily service all 32 properties on that line for up to around a 2 Gbps service. By the time we get to that point (educated guess that will be 2028-2030) they’ll be switching out the GPON’s for better capacity.

          ISP’s get about 150 Mbps for free, and pay for any Mbps above that at about $25 per Mbps. My understanding is they typically buy 10-30 Mbps. Across the 32 people thats 80c per property per Mbps. Multiply that by however many Mbps they add and it starts to really eat into their profit margins quickly. Getting more gets even more expensive.

          To summarise – NBN has been able to handle 1 Gbps for a long time, its only the ISP’s that have failed to offer it as an option.

          As for the “now we know most homes aren’t interested in paying a premium for even 100Mbps”, based on what? I call bullshit on that straight away. TPG charges $70 for a 50 Mbps connection, and $90 for a 100 Mbps. $20 isnt a big jump for double the speed.

          NBN’s own figures. There are around 1.45m properties capable of FttP. A touch over 1m have 50 Mbps or higher, which is around 70%. That suggests people want the best speed available, or near to it. Its a growing number – the amount on 25 Mbps or lower has dropped 20% between April last year and this year.

          And this is part of the problem. Our use grows year on year. The speeds we expect roughly double every 2 years, and has done so since the mid 90’s when the internet starting being a utility. So while 50 Mbps is the core number now, 100 Mbps is growing year on year, and will continue to do so. You only need to look at the updated numbers from Aussie to show that theres a growing market, not a stagnant one.

          I was saying a decade ago that about now (I called 2020-2021) we would see 100 Mbps as being too little. I was 100% right. The rest of the world talks about 1 Gbps or better as if its normal, while we bitch and fight about having 50 Mbps as the best speed for most of the country.

          For those of us lucky to have FttP, its trivial to upgrade those GPON’s at the exchange to be XGPON or better. We dont have to care. But for those stuck with 50 Mbps as their best, they’re stuck with that for a decade before someone decides theres profit in overbuilding it. And that hurts us as a country.

          So to say that people arent interested in paying a premium suggests you really havent looked at the data to prove that. I have. FYI, I have family that research and lecture in the field. For 30 years. That and the numbers I have found suggest that your post isnt accurate.

  • some sweet sweet 250/25 would make me happy. NBN was only connected for me less than a month ago on FTTC, currently on the 50 plan, so i feel the pain of this:
    when you get home and you sit on the couch and break out your beverage of choice, and you go to play the game, and then it packed up and says, ‘Well, no, you’ve got to upgrade.’ You can’t play. You’ve got to wait until you’ve downloaded the new patch. Even on a 50Mbps service, that would take about an hour and 45 minutes to get that game downloaded.
    but it is certainly a better situation than i was on pre nbn getting ADSL 1 speeds of about 900kb/s down.
    but feels all too real from a few nights ago when i bought assassins creed origins on sale from EGS, downloaded like 50gb or whatever it is, launched it into uplay just for uplay to go JUST KIDDING heres another 25gb to download before you can play. suffice it to say i found something else to play.

  • Just called Aussie to talk about the new plan. Despite being on FTTP myself I was told that my area won’t be getting it just yet. So it’s not “all users on fibre” after all.

  • TasmaNet in Tasmania has offered 1Gb plans for a couple years now. Funny how little old Tasmania is well ahead of you mainlanders in lots of ways eh?! ????

  • Yeah that’s slightly misleading though – IT News also reported that you get 750 with a “potential burst” of up to 990Mbps “between 1 to 50 seconds at least once a day”

  • This basically promotes usage by torrent whores! COMMON give people high upload speeds also, at least 250-500Mbps so more streaming and server hosting can be done (which the public does these days).

    We need to PROMOTE Australian hosted content not stifle it!!!

    What a ripoff

  • Gigabit downloads on HFC and 50Mbs uploads. You’re funny. The other day on my HFC connection I got 0.07Mbs uploads. Living the NBN dream

    • Yeah HFC is terrible, particularly if they connect more than about 20 homes to it.

      In an audit after they bought the HFC network the govt’s own audit team found it wasn’t fit for purpose.

  • ITNews

    NBN Co said that “Home Superfast” – which is how it brands 250/25 Mbps – would be available “for up to 70 percent of the NBN HFC footprint, with a plan to make it available to order for 100 percent of the NBN HFC footprint by June 2021.”

    But you wrote:

    ITNews reported this morning that only 7 percent of NBN HFC users w

    You screwed up real bad here. It’s not a typo, you’ve reported 7% as fact.

    • NBN Co confirmed it as well – Gizmodo got a direct statement and release – but ITNews reported it first, so I was doing the right thing by acknowledging them. I could just do what some outlets do and pretend that we never saw their reporting first, but I’ve never liked operating like that.

    • Lmao dude…

      Read the NEXT PARAGRAPH of the article you are referencing….

      Meanwhile, “Home Ultrafast” – the branding of its “500 to close to 1000/50 Mbps” product – would be accessible “to an initial NBN HFC footprint of up to 7 percent.”


  • I guess that none of this will be any good to us in rural areas on fixed wireless! We’re lucky if we get an average of 15 to 30 mbps , with rare times of 30 to 55 mbps and frequent drop outs.

    • Fixed wireless? Bl**dy luxury! Try NBN Satellite with tiny data allowances and unaffordable 50Mbps plans, plus 2 Mbps upload if you’re lucky.
      (*apologies to Monty Python)

  • It’s all a big joke some of us don’t even have NBN and when we do, we will be lucky to get 15mbs. We all pay taxes etc but it’s a big lottery, with a few winners but many that miss out. Our node is 1.2km away.

  • Maybe I’ll get to experience this someday right before I die of old age. Because where I live, we don’t even have the fucking NBN at all yet. We’re lucky to get 10mbps. Hell, we’re lucky to get 5.

  • Only issue I see toward this is that they should have priced the 250/50 as what has been the 100/40 pay for the last 5 years, and then had 100 as the entry point and 1000 as top point.
    Internet in general should be getting better not more costly.

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