news Australia has taken a substantial leap down the table of countries globally with good broadband, with the nation’s poor average peak connection speeds seeing it slip 14 spots in just the past six months by one measurement, and other benchmarks also slipping slightly.
The ‘State of the Internet’ report is produced by online content delivery specialist Akamai Technologies every quarter. It is regarded as one of the benchmark standards by which countries and organisations measure broadband speeds globally. Akamai is in a good position to measure global Internet speeds due to its extensive global content delivery network sitting at the heart of networks in each country.
In the company’s latest report — measuring broadband speeds over the past three months, Akamai noted that Australia had slipped down 14 spots on the global table in that quarter in terms of average broadband connection speeds.
Australia is now ranked 60th globally when it comes to average broadband speeds. This places the nation behind a number of other competing countries in the Asia-Pacific region — not only behind fibre-rich countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan, but also behind financial and trading hub Singapore, as well as Taiwan, Thailand and New Zealand.
Australia is now fast approaching less-developed countries such as Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the Philippines in terms of our peak connection speed ranking. Australia’s peak average broadband speed is now 39.3Mbps, a figure which actually slipped down 6.3 percent from the previous quarter.
Australia also took slight steps downwards in terms of other benchmarks such as percentage ranking of countries that have broadband speeds faster than 4Mbps (we slipped from 52nd to 56th), countries that have broadband speeds faster than 10Mbps (we slipped from 45th to 47th) and also the country ranking in terms of average connection speeds (we slipped from 46th to 48th).
Shadow Communications Minister Jason Clare said the move represented Australia having “crashed” in the global broadband rankings again.
“Less than three years ago when Malcolm Turnbull changed course on the National Broadband Network Australia was ranked 30th in the world for average peak connection speed,” Clare said. “Today we are ranked 60th.”
“Australia’s broadband ranking crashed 14 spots last quarter alone. We are behind most of Asia and most of Europe, the US and Canada. We are even behind Romania, Russia, Slovakia and Poland.”
Clare chalked up Australia’s slide to what he described as “Malcolm Turnbull’s second-rate copper NBN”, which he said was causing Australia’s broadband competitive to crash against “every broadband metric that has a measure”.
“Australian businesses need reliable, fast broadband to compete in the global digital economy, but Malcolm Turnbull is shackling Australia to an NBN that relies on last century’s copper,” said Clare. “Malcolm Turnbull’s second rate NBN is a complete failure.”
“Malcolm Turnbull promised that his second rate NBN would reach every home in 2016 – he has doubled that timeframe. He also promised his second rate NBN would cost $29.5 billion – he has nearly doubled the cost to up to $56 billion.”
“And now we have doubled our world ranking for internet speeds – from 30th in the world to 60th. Malcolm Turnbull has made a mess of the NBN. Australia cannot afford another three years of Malcolm Turnbull’s failures.”
I wrote the following in September last year about a similar Akamai report released at the time, and things (unfortunately) don’t appear to have changed much since that time:
“What we are seeing here is very clear.
On the one hand, Australia is indeed increasing its broadband speeds across the board. On most measures, as a country Australians are generally getting access to better broadband, and we’re seeing this in the stats.
However, balancing this fact appears to be two factors. Firstly, Australia’s broadband penetration is still increasing, so the added numbers of people joining the broadband revolution appears to be keeping our average speeds from jumping up too far.
In addition, Australia is just not deploying high enough speed infrastructure at a fast enough rate. The ten years which Australia’s politicians spent debating how and why Australia’s broadband infrastructure should be upgraded is finally catching up with us as a country. In that time, most other first-world countries incentivised their incumbent telcos to conduct major upgrades.
Australia took far too long to get on the bandwagon, due to factors such as the lack of bipartisanship on the issue and the reluctance of Telstra’s previous management under Sol Trujillo to play ball.
As a result, the rate at which Australia is increasing its broadband speeds is slower than the rate at which the rest of the world is increasing its broadband speeds. So even though things are slowly getting better in Australia as initiatives such as the National Broadband Network gain pace, we’re still slipping further behind compared to the rest of the world.
As many people have written continuously over the past few years, the only way to stop our trend downwards is to deploy Fibre to the Premises infrastructue, and price access to it at a level that will allow Australians to access higher speeds. We’re not going to leap in the rankings by only upgrading our copper networks and focusing on 25Mbps speeds. Most other first-world countries are 5-10 years ahead of Australia in doing that.”