Is your NBN link congested? Ask your ISP – Aussie Broadband demonstrates transparency

You've probably never heard of them... but there's a few reasons you should...

When it comes to the NBN don’t misunderstand the fact that no two telcos are the same when it comes to providing you with your internet.  So when the time comes time to connect to the NBN at your place – you really need to do your research and choose a provider to suit.

One of the big issues you’ll hear about when reading about and researching the NBN is speed.  And while via the NBN there are several speed tiers available, no two telcos are the same.

This week, I spoke with Phil Britt – the boss of Aussie Broadband about their approach to customers and NBN congestion and it’s one hell of a refreshing story:

To put things in layman’s terms, right across Australia, the NBN has constructed a backbone network of internet pipes.  These all terminate at what are called Points of Interconnect (POI) – think of them as the local NBN Exchange.

Your home connection, be it HFC, FTTN, FTTP or otherwise, goes back to one of these POIs.  That’s the NBN’s job, to get you connected to a POI.  Your telco has the task of taking your connection out to the big wide world.

And this is where the issue is for many users.  If two telcos have the same size “link” from the POI out to the internet, but one of them has 10,000 customers, and the other has 1,000 – it’s likely the first telco is going to be congested, and that will result in slower speeds for their users.

How do you combat that?  Well you buy a bigger pipe – you can add capacity to the “link” – problem is, we don’t know if the telcos are doing that.

Except in the case of Aussie Broadband.  This is staggeringly transparent, but they are committed to their links to the point that they have people monitoring them in real time each evening (during the “internet peak time”) and adding capacity when required.

The company has even taken to publishing the charts from their own systems to demonstrate capacity

In many cases that happens with as little as 15 minutes notice. The customer experience is and should be that they don’t experience as much of a speed degradation at peak times.

Now lets be clear – there’s always going to be traffic.  But the difference between your “100mbps” plan running at 35mbps and 75mbps at peak time could well be this capacity management.

Phil Britt told me they are working on making their POI bandwidth charts public on a “techie” website, so the transparency levels will be even higher.

I’ll be switching to Aussie Broadband next week to give them a go and continue my comparison – lets see how they compare.

Web: Aussie Broadband

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Tech

Trev produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He hosts a nightly radio show on Talking Lifestyle, 8pm Monday to Friday in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
13 Comments on this post.
  • Kyle
    27 June 2017 at 3:16 pm
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    Gday Trev!

    I have FTTP 100/40 with Skymesh and between 5 and 10pm we can get hectic spikes, it seems to come in waves, of no worries for 10 mins then intense lag for 10-30secs.
    This will halt streaming media and cause heavy lag on online games (which we play a heap of) super frustrating!

    Is there much that the ISP can do about this?

    Keep up the good work!

    Kyle

    • Trevor Long
      27 June 2017 at 10:26 pm
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      I think you do need to have that conversation – and potentially switch telcos and see the result..

  • Sean
    28 June 2017 at 9:27 pm
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    I switched from Internode to Aussie Broadband for just this reason. I had been with Internode for 10 years! Internode used to be a great ISP but after the takeover by TPG they have succumbed to the TPG curse of spending as little as possible on the customer. Every evening after 6pm my NBN connection would grind to a halt. I would get as little as 6Mbps on a 100Mbps connection (I used to get 22Mbps on my ADSL2+ connection!). Every time I called Internode they said they would submit a CVC increase but it never really happened. I am guessing they were not allowed to increase CVC because it would eat into the parent company TPG profit.

    Because of this I switched to AussieBB when they announced their new on-net network. Now I get 96Mbps at all times of the day. The connection is never congested. It’s made using the NBN a pleasurable experience again. I am not the only one who has had this great experience. Just read the internet forums and almost everyone that switches to AussieBB is having the same great experience. I hope more people learn about AussieBB as they have become the sole game changer in this massive NBN mess.

    It is interesting to note that TPG constantly complains about getting a raw deal from NBN yet small agile companies like Aussie Broadband don’t complain and just get on with the job of providing great internet to their customers. Maybe TPG needs to shut up and actually spend money on CVC if they want to retain customers!

  • Sean
    28 June 2017 at 11:37 pm
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    What the heck? Why was my post deleted?!

    • Sean
      28 June 2017 at 11:38 pm
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      Whoops sorry – it’s back – looks like a caching issue

    • Trevor Long
      28 June 2017 at 11:38 pm
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      Huh? I just approved it – they don’t go up automatically, and even then take an hour or two to refresh through the CDN

  • Prangitt
    29 June 2017 at 10:48 am
    Leave a Reply

    Hi Trevor,

    Thanks for the article and the interesting interview with Phil. I am also a happy Aussie Broadband customer. Due to the FTTN debacle, I can only sync at 59 down, 23 up (on a 100/40 plan) the speeds I have been getting from the Aussie Broadband connection are brilliant. I don’t even bother with speed tests anymore, as it just works at full speed, 24 hours a day. Pings remain constant, with 1 ms jitter.

    Given the ridiculous costs imposed on RSPs / ISPs by nbnco, I really don’t know how AB do it!

    Sean, the CVC cost alone makes it pretty hard for RSPs (Internode, TPG etc.) to “just buy more bandwidth”. The monthly charge of $29 per customer, then the CVC of $17.50 per megabit doesn’t allow much margin to pay the other costs, let alone make a profit. (Assuming TPG allow 2 megabits per customer, their costs for the nbn connection alone are $64 per month.) Last time I checked the average CVC bandwidth purchased across all ISPs was 1.03 megabits per second, or about 125 KB/Sec.

    Why have we got such crazy pricing? Singapore also charge CVC, but theirs costs about 40 cents per megabit.

    Partly because the government want to get back as much of the build cost ASAP, so they can sell it to Telstra.
    In fairness though, we got used to paying for broadband delivered over an ancient network of POTS copper, that had been paid for and depreciated to zero value over many years.

  • Francis Young
    29 June 2017 at 11:17 am
    Leave a Reply

    This shows yet again the folly of the November 2010 ACCC cave-in to longhaul fibre owners who lobbied for an increase from 14 capital city POIs to 202 POIs. The ACCC approved an arbitrary number of 121 POIs. At a stroke, they increased the cost and complexity for every other retail provider to service the national market, and ensured that bandwidth unevenness would occur, especially out of POIs with smaller customer volumes.

  • Jake
    29 June 2017 at 11:38 am
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    I think an interesting thing is that while Aussie have gone the transparent route, another ISP – Skymesh – have taken the opposite approach. The Sales director has recently admitted on Whirlpool that they have reduced CVC capacity to save money (since they were bought out) – and this has caused MASSIVE congestion for many many customers. In the space of 4 weeks there have been over 200 pages of complaints!

  • VH
    29 June 2017 at 11:52 am
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    Signed up to TPG FTTB last week, after our apartment was notified we could get connected. It’s so much better. Im always getting ~93/38 speeds and unlimited. No issues with congestion. NBN is just a twisted replacement for “Phone Line Renting”.

    I pay $60 for my TPG FTTB, the same price I was paying for ADSL2+.

    TPG FTTB is the best!!

  • Lindsay Mathieson
    29 June 2017 at 5:41 pm
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    Supposedly we get connected in November – will definitely give Aussie a go.

  • Kyle
    30 June 2017 at 9:58 am
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    I have also switched to Aussie BB, I lost about 10mbit and gained about 10 latency (from 3-5 with SkyMesh to 12-14 with Aussie BB on OCE Wow servers)

    I couldn’t be happier, not a single lagout or spike in my service since!

  • Mark Dutton
    2 July 2017 at 5:44 pm
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    The NBN is such a disappointing joke. If I pay for a 100Mbs, that is what I should get…always! Not up to. Imagine going to the service station and paying for 60 litres of petrol and only getting 50. Nobody would accept that.

    This is the reason NBN is useless for business. It is useless if you want to use qos because you need to congest your own link for it to work. That means dropping the max speed to the lowest you know you will get.

    It has certainly helped the carriers sell their expensive guaranteed speed internet services.

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