I’m : a web and mobile developer based in the Manning Valley, Australia.

Telcos to blame for slow NBN?

Over on RN Breakfast Fran Kelly spoke to Tony Brown from NBNCo regarding slow NBN connections. It's an interesting listen as yet again NBNCo are laying the blame on Retail Service Providers (and end users for not researching enough).

Our first bit of advice from Tony is for users to check that RSPs have enough capacity. That's fair enough as "you get what you pay for" is definitely part of the issue. But this is something that will be exceptionally difficult for end-users to do as the sales teams at RSPs will of course say they have a great network.

What we need is for NBNCo to be transparent and provide information on CVC usage levels. This can be broken down per ISP and displayed as a percentage every 30 to 60 minutes. This way users will be able to see for themselves that the cheap RSP they're considering may very well not provide a good service. Don't forget that there are 121 Points of Interconnect (POIs) where congestion can occur. Users would need to know which POI they're connecting to to be able to lookup congestion.

Unfortunately in my case this wouldn't help as one RSP I was using was at 30% CVC capacity during peak hours but my connection was still around 5Mb/s (outside of peak it's generally quite good). This is due to my Fixed Wireless cell/tower being congested at peak hours. From the research I've done NBNCo don't let RSPs know if this is the case and all a RSP can do is look at CVC usage. This means they're unnecessarily moving the problem back to the user and equipment in the premises. NBNCo are extremely reluctant to provide congestion information on their "world class" Fixed Wireless network. If you are lucky enough to have them admit something then in the same breath they'll turn around and say that really there isn't an issue. This response from NBNCo relating to my issues is interesting:

"Hi team. Our tier 2 network team investigated this incident and no speed related faults were found within the NBN Wireless Access Network. The serving cell is provisioned with 75 AVC users. We are seeing the cell traffic below 95% utilisation at various peak periods.

The cell which this user is connected to experiences high utilisation during busy periods. This means the speed of this service is likely to be reduced particularly in the evening with more people online. This site is currently not flagged for upgrade however NBN monitors for sites that require capacity expansion and we aim to upgrade site capacity before congestions occurs.

However sometimes demand exceeds expectation resulting in a site becoming congested.

CVC utilisation for download bandwidth is reaching approximately 100% capacity at peak periods.

This incident has now been resolved"

While I do have the choice of which provider to use they're all experiencing the same issue. I've seen more and more users switching over to the NBN in my area and NBNCo are more than happy to oversubscribe the Fixed Wireless service. I started my battle in February 2017 and already back in March heard murmurs from my RSP's support team that NBNCo were aware of the issue and it had been ongoing for over 12 months.

After enough complaining my area has been scheduled for an upgrade during Q3 or Q4 2017. But how many other users have experienced these issues only to be told by their RSPs that there are no problems? What about all the wasted NBN hardware and telco modem/router replacements? NBNCo are acting like a greedy monopolistic telco who aren't interested in providing a decent service. Heck even Western Australia is trying to deal with NBNCo as little as possible. Quite something to have one bureaucracy outdo another!

So Tony I've done my homework and both Telstra and Aussie Broadband have advised that they aren't experiencing CVC congestion issues. In fact it's Aussie Broadband who were are 30% CVC utilisation and are taking great strides to ensure that they don't sell services if it would lead to congestion. I've two highly rated providers and yet my 50Mbps service slows down to 5Mbps during evenings, weekends and public/school holidays. What more, as a user, can I do?