Who’s to blame for your slow NBN ?

There are now 1.876,566 paying customers on Australia’s National Broadband Network. You don’t have to search far to find horror stories of people getting below expected or frankly acceptable...

There are now 1.876,566 paying customers on Australia’s National Broadband Network. You don’t have to search far to find horror stories of people getting below expected or frankly acceptable speeds. Some users have even reported slower speeds after transitioning from ADSL2 to NBN. Take some time to look at #NBN your favourite social network and you’ll example of complaints for every single ISP.

Recently the ACC reported a spike in complaints regarding the NBN and today nbn have replied with information on the complex makeup of the infrastructure, hoping to end the blame game of who’s fault it is.

Users don’t get a choice of the infrastructure coming into their home, so the only variables they can control are the Retail Service Provider and the router they have on the kitchen bench. The problem lies in the fact that regardless of the RSP selected or the number of hundreds of dollars spent on the best router on the market, the NBN experience may still be poor and that’s after extended wait times to be connected in the first place.

nbn suggests a large part of the puzzle is how much bandwidth the RSP has purchased from nbn, the size of their network that attaches to our POI, or even how much bandwidth they’ve purchased in overseas cables to access content from abroad. When this data isn’t avaialble to customers at the time of signup, you’re really crossing your fingers and hoping, rather than making an informed decision on the best provider.

All RSPs connect to the NBN which in theory was supposed to offer the same experience, with differentiation coming on price, data caps and fringe benefits like unmetered content through partnership deals. A user should be able to choose the speed tier (25/50/100Mbps) from any provider and be confident they’ll get close to that when the service is activated, not suffer from large variables that means the next door neighbour with the same infrastructure receives a far greater speed.

nbn does admit they’ve had issues and say they acknowledge them, own them, and are fixing them.

We need to help more people understand who is responsible for which portions and what they can do to receive the best possible service.

There is indeed a complicated chain involved in connecting to the internet, a bi-product of Prime Minister Turnbull’s decision to move to a multi-technology mix. Many end-users are confused as to who does what and the industry and in an effort to help provide clarity around that, nbn have created a graphic that really does demonstrate the complex array of dependencies your internet connection has, each of which can impact performance.

nbn say they want to end the blame game and rightly so, given consumers don’t care about the root cause, they just want the internet they’re paying for (and often not getting).

Ending the blame game

This is an industry-wide issue that cannot be fixed by nbn alone. Some retailers are taking strong action already and it shows in the end-user satisfaction scores.

For example, we have one retailer with very high scores and another at the other end of the scale, both using the same portion of the nbn™ network and the same nbn processes to activate a user.

This could be due to a number of factors that are in the hands of the retailer and end user.

Examples are the quality of the modem in the home, how much bandwidth the RSP has purchased from nbn, the size of their network that attaches to our POI, or even how much bandwidth they’ve purchased in overseas cables to access content from abroad.

We know end-users have a choice of access speed, and they equally have a choice of a service provider.

The service provider is more than a reseller of the nbn™ network and consumers must select carefully to match their needs to what these service providers offer.

To be frank, nbn has our own issues and we acknowledge them, own them, and are fixing them. We need to help more people understand who is responsible for which portions and what they can do to receive the best possible service.

Let us know what you’re NBN experience has been like in the comments below.

More information at nbn,

Update
After receiving feedback on this post, I’ve created a collection which will be added to over time, on user’s poor experiences on the NBN.

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NBN

This post is authored by techAU staffers. Used rarely and sparingly when the source decided to keep their identity secret, or a guest author who isn't seeking credit.