NBN Slower Than Expected? Here’s How to Tell if You’re Getting What You’re Paying for

NBN Slower Than Expected? Here’s How to Tell if You’re Getting What You’re Paying for

So we were all on ADSL at one point, right? You at least remember when Australian fixed-line internet was really bad before the NBN completed its major rollout of fibre across the country. Being a netizen back then has probably made you hyper-alert today to your internet being slower than expected. It certainly had that impact on me. Well, just so you know, there’s a way to check your internet speed, to tell if your evening speed matches what you’re paying.

There’s some technical jargon along the way, but come with me and we’ll get to the bottom of it.

How to check if you’re getting the right NBN speed

I’m going to introduce you to Ookla, which is probably the most common internet speed testing tool. Head to this website, and click ‘go’ to find out your internet speed. A speed test will be carried out, measuring the download speed, upload speed, and ping rate of your connection.

Let it run for a bit, and it’ll give you a result.

Now, NBN providers typically sell their NBN plans with maximum speeds of 25Mbps, 50Mbps, and 100Mbps, along with 250Mbps and 1000Mbps for fibre and HFC customers. These speeds are usually paired with the names ‘NBN 25,’ or ‘NBN 100’, which is just an easy way of quickly noting the maximum theoretical speed – but this is the first major hurdle we need to overcome when you go to check your NBN speed.

Although those are the maximum theoretical speeds, they are not the guaranteed theoretical speeds. Your internet connection will often come in either just under or just above your plan’s maximum theoretical speed, but if it’s much below (or above), then something may be wrong.

But that’s not where we can leave it, because on top of maximum theoretical speeds, we also need to talk about Typical Evening Speeds. These are speeds that NBN providers are advised to show in plan advertising, demonstrating an estimate of plan speed between the hours of 7pm and 11pm, when Australian internet is at its peak usage.

For example, Tangerine’s typical evening speed on its ‘Superspeedy’ NBN 100 plan is 95Mbps, whereas Telstra’s typical evening speed for its equivalent plan is 100Mbps. Typical evening speeds can usually be found on the plan’s page on the company’s website, or in the Critical Information Summary (often referred to as a CIS) on the website.

Brass tax though, the ACCC offers guidelines on what customers should expect from NBN plans. NBN 25 customers should expect typical evening speeds of at least 15Mbps. NBN 50 customers should expect speeds of at least 30Mbps, and NBN 100 customers should expect speeds of at least 60Mbps.

Just a quick note – if you’re on an FTTC or FTTN connection, then you’ll typically get a less consistent experience compared to the HFC of FTTP, and won’t be able to achieve the same high speeds. If this is the case, and you’re paying for a higher-speed plan, check with your NBN provider to see if you’re eligible for the speed you’re subscribed to. You can also upgrade your home’s fixed-line connection for free.

What do I do if my NBN plan is underperforming?

If your plan is underperforming dramatically, then the best thing you should do is reach out to your service provider. Discuss the issue with them and see if it can be resolved – it may involve sending a technician out to repair a node near your home, or it may involve switching to a new modem. It could also involve the NBN provider switching you to the appropriate plan, but this is an unlikely scenario.

You’re well within your right to consider an alternative plan or provider, and we encourage you to constantly shop around for a better deal.

If you’re unsatisfied with the result after complaining, you can always consider this as a resolution. Or, if you have an FTTC or FTTN connection that seems to be constantly having outages or is constantly breaking, consider upgrading to fibre for free.

What is wrong with my NBN plan?

If your plan speed is coming in much below (or above) those typical evening speeds, then something would be wrong. It could very well be an issue with your plan, but it could also be a hardware issue such as a faulty modem, or an issue somewhere on the fixed-line network. If you performed the speed test on Wi-Fi, you may have obstacles in between the device and your modem causing interference.

You’d be best suited trying everything. If it’s a faulty modem, say if it’s extremely old or if it’s underperforming after being newly installed, this could well be the culprit. Or, if your internet is starting to play up after heavy rain, there was likely a disruption somewhere on the network causing an issue. Regardless, if there is an issue on the network side of things, contact your service provider. NBN Co is not the company to contact if there’s something wrong with the NBN.

Image: Gizmodo Australia

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