Thirteen years since the inception of the National Broadband Network, and we’re almost at the finish line. One of the largest and most advanced engineering projects in Australian history is on schedule to finally be completed in the early 2020s, but as of May, there are already 3.7 million actives homes connected to the NBN, with a total of 6.5 million capable of connecting.
What does the NBN rollout mean for your average internet user in Australia? Let’s take a look at some of the key talking points of the National Broadband Network and its benefits for residential customers.
1. A More Competitive Internet Connectivity Landscape
The NBN is first and foremost an infrastructure project that creates, and then sells wholesale access to new networks to internet service providers. This comes in contrast to the previous environment, where providers laid out their own infrastructure, and the ones with the biggest pockets monopolized the market, forcing smaller providers to acquire leases to their network or simply leave the market. The result is a competitive internet landscape that allows more players in the game, and gives consumers a more diverse array of choices.
2. Greater Reliability
In the latest Monthly Progress Report provided by NBN Co., we see a clear uptick in network availability and fault restoration time, as well as reduction in overall faults per home. This comes in contrast to the wildly varying reliability ratings of ISPs and plans that aren’t linked up to the NBN.
3. Faster Overall Speeds
Australia has historically lagged behind the rest of the world in internet speed rankings. In December 2017, Speedtest.net found that the average Australian internet speed was a mere 25.88Mbps, 55th in the world. With the continuing rollout of the NBN, that’s expected to change, as more and more orders for the 50Mbps and above tiers make their way to Australian homes. By offering a consistently fast infrastructure that most users will eventually be able to take advantage of, the average Australian internet user will no longer have to deal with bogged-down networks.
This benefit applies to satellite users as well. The Sky Muster™ system is considered much faster than other satellite internet providers, not only at a local scale but also when compared to providers from around the world.
Accessing The NBN
Different providers offer different NBN plans from which users can select whatever fits their needs. Each provider has their own prices, data caps, throttling characteristics and behavior, and the like, but everyone connects to the NBN so reliability is pretty much the same.
NBN plans include the NBN 12, NBN 25, and NBN 50 tiers, which correspond respectively to up to 12, 25, and 50 Mbps of download speeds. Upload speeds are slightly lower than download speeds, and one may experience reduced speeds during peak hours.
The NBN is certainly a step in the right direction for Australian internet access. Consumers always win out in a more competitive environment that allows greater and more diverse options to make it to the market, and with a government-controlled enterprise backing the creation of the network, we find a steady, efficient service rollout that is forcing private providers to step up their game, either participating in the NBN itself, or becoming more competitive with their own networks and technology. While the rollout has had its detractors and hiccups over the past few years, we’re getting there, and the dream of fast, stable internet for everyone no matter where you are in the country may soon be a reality.