What are the facts about Australia’s internet speed?
As of April 2020, Australia fell two spots and is ranked 64th in terms of global broadband speed. This ranking puts the country far behind other similarly advanced economies.
The internet speed average in Australia is 41.99 Megabits per second (Mbps). In comparison, Singapore is ranked number one on the list with an average Mbps of 198.46.
Australia’s internet speed is currently ranking lower than Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Kosovo. And the issue Australia has is not the size of the country’s population, because countries of similar or even smaller sizes are ranking much higher on the chart, but a range of other influencing factors.
To really understand Australia’s internet speed problems and what needs to change going forward, it is essential to consider how the NBN is contributing to this issue.
How the NBN Contributes to Australia’s Internet Problems
The National Broadband Network (NBN) is in charge of advancing Australia’s broadband infrastructure. The NBN was first announced in 2009, and it was sold to Australians as the solution to faster internet speeds.
But over the years, the reality of the NBN has played out very differently. The project encountered delays early on, which attracted a lot of negative press. Public opinion surrounding the NBN has also grown increasingly pessimistic.
In 2014, the government changed the direction of the NBN rollout and said that it would focus on a multi-technology mix. Instead of bringing fibre to every home, the implementation brought a combination of old and new parts which significantly slowed internet speeds.
So rather than inspiring confidence, the pivot only added to the uncertainty surrounding the NBN, and left Australia’s fast internet speeds in the dust.
What is the Real Cause of Australia’s Slow Internet Speeds?
In addition to the NBN, slow internet speeds in Australia can be attributed to the following ongoing problems:
- Given Australia’s large size and sparsely distributed population, it takes a lot of infrastructure to support internet connectivity. This infrastructure is expensive to install over such long distances.
- Broadband technology is underdeveloped and is based on old copper network lines. This is the issue the NBN is trying to solve, but it doesn’t seem to be happening quickly enough.
- Most Australian ISPs engage in something known as data throttling, which means that they slow down certain websites and services. This usually makes videos load more slowly and buffer frequently.
- Australia’s international internet transit capacity is sourced from undersea fibre-optic cables to Asia and the United States. If even one of those cables is damaged, the internet connection is dramatically affected.
What Slow Internet Speeds Mean for Australians