Hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) is the worst NBN fixed-lined technology when it comes to outages, according to a new report released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The ACCC today released its latest Measuring Broadband Australia report, which assessed the performance of retail service providers (RSPs) for the month of August.
SamKnows, which produces the report for the ACCC, said its white boxes had recorded an average of 0.41 outages a day for HFC services (counting outages longer than 30 seconds), during the monitoring period.
That is significantly more reliable than ADSL (0.8 outages) but falls short of fibre to the premises (0.12), fibre to the curb (0.28) and fibre to the node (0.3). (If services deemed ‘underperforming’ are excluded, FTTN’s average is somewhat better at 0.23; other technologies do not vary in outage rates.)
The ACCC report also reveals that, out of the NBN technologies, HFC outages were likely to be longer: Most HFC outages lasted 10 minutes or more. FTTP and FTTC both typically enjoyed shorter outages of less than three minutes, while FTTN outages were often up to 10 minutes.
NBN Co has been approached for comment.
The ACCC said the level of HFC outages may drop when NBN services are not being added at significant volume, with NBN Co late last year significantly scaling up the rollout of the technology following a ‘pause’ while it worked to address performance issues. The ACCC said that it expects the switching off of legacy cable Internet and pay TV services to have an impact on HFC reliability.
When it came to speeds, Optus performed best when it came average downloads in the busy evening period, knocking TPG down to number two. Exetel came in third, just beating Aussie Broadband and MyRepublic, followed by Telstra, and TPG subsidiary iiNet.
“We are thrilled that Optus has the fastest NBN peak evening speeds independently tested by the ACCC,” said Dennis Wong, Optus Networks managing director. “The results reflect the considerable investment we’ve made to our network to improve our customers’ experience and ensure they consistently achieve a high level of performance.”
Vocus-owned RSPs Dodo and iPrimus were at the bottom of the leader board, delivering an average peak hour performance of 76.4 per cent of a plan’s theoretical maximum speed. The two RSPs base their advertised speeds on averaged evening data rather than busy hour performance, the ACCC says.
“We will be following this up with Dodo/iPrimus as this approach means it will fall short whenever its speeds dip, as they did this quarter,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said. “Consumers should be able to trust RSPs to meet their advertised speed claims.”
“If consumers are not getting what was promised by their providers, they should contact them to ask about getting the problem fixed or moving onto a cheaper plan where the speeds are attainable,” Sims said.