How Fast is the NBN?

shutterstock_91096202Getting an accurate speed reading for the NBN is no easy task. There are many different factors that can influence broadband speeds and the speed read during a test one night can in fact change the next.

Speeds can depend on a user’s equipment, the quality of the connection between the house and the exchange, as well as the amount of traffic visiting the testing site at the same time as you are. And these are just a few of the factors – in reality, there are many more.

The good news is that the National Liberal Coalition has promised speeds of at least 25 Mbps, with some areas receiving speeds of up to 100Mbps.

Speed tiers

The NBN is sold in five speed tiers, with download rates ranging from 12Mbps to 100Mbps. The faster the speed you select, the more expensive you can expect your Internet package to be.

Tier 1 – 12Mbps: Best suited for household uses such as checking emails and other basic tasks. As it stands, the majority of Australian households receive similar speeds and find that most tasks are achievable.

Tier 2 – 25Mbps: Best suited for heavy download use in households or for those who like to stream video or make use of online movie rental services. There are wait times for large downloads, but these wait times are minimal.

Tier 3 – 25Mbps with an upload rate of 5 to 10Mbps: Best suited for small business use who don’t require a large bandwidth. Households not requiring a large upload rate would be better to opt for tier 2.

Tier 4 – 50Mbps: Best suited for people wanting what seems like instantaneous downloads. At this rate of speed, streaming videos will come with no wait time and online gaming should work with little or no interruptions.

Tier 5 – 50 to 100Mbps: Best suited for those wanting to make the full use of the NBN and future proof themselves for bigger, higher resolution technologies. These download rates work exceptionally well for small businesses, keeping speeds high even when multiple employees are using the connection simultaneously.

The upload speeds of 40Mbps in this tier are also great for businesses sharing large amounts of media online and storing large amounts of data on the cloud.

How do you know you are receiving promised speeds?

Speed testing sites can give you a good idea of whether or not you are getting close to the speed level you signed up for. However, remember that there are lots of factors that determine the speed reading.

It is recommended that when testing your broadband speed, you first select an Australian testing site and you test the speed several times throughout the day to get an average reading. If your readings are continually significantly lower than the speed time promised then it is clear there is a problem with the connection.

Don’t forget to test your upload speed as well and ensure that all software is up to date and that your equipment isn’t too outdated. Currently, about 64% of Australians are receiving speeds they are promised by Internet providers.