Internet performance in busy hours improves under new NBN pricing


Broadband speed performance in the peak-demand period of 7-11pm (busy hours) has improved significantly for users of NBN ‘Home Ultrafast’ 1000 Mbps services, following the removal of capacity-based charging under NBN Co’s new wholesale pricing structure.

The ACCC’s latest Measuring Broadband Australia report, which covers December 2023, shows that NBN ‘Home Ultrafast’ services achieved average hourly download speeds of 818-851 Mbps throughout the day, compared to 686-851 Mbps in the last September 2023 report. In both reports, the minimum hourly speed occurred at 8pm.

Download performance in the busy hours on NBN 100 Mbps and 250 Mbps fixed-line plans was marginally higher than the ACCC’s previous Measuring Broadband Australia report.

“Under NBN Co’s old wholesale pricing regime, very high-speed services faced more constraints during the busy hours compared to the lower speed fixed-line plans,” ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said.

“With capacity-based charging on 100 Mbps and above plans eliminated, we observed faster download speeds on those plans during the busy hours as broadband providers no longer have to purchase sufficient capacity to meet peak demand.”

Figure 1: NBN very high speed services – average download speeds per hour of day

Figure 2: Busy hour download performance (NBN AVC-only plans split by access technology)

In December 2023, the average download speed for NBN fixed-line connections across all speed tiers was 99.3 per cent of the connection’s maximum plan speed. This is a record high for the program, up from 98.8 per cent in the previous quarter. Average NBN fixed-line upload speeds were also the highest the Measuring Broadband Australia program has recorded, at 87.8 per cent of the maximum plan speeds during the busy hours.

The report shows the number of consumers on fibre to the node connections that are underperforming on NBN 100 Mbps plans remains relatively high. ‘Underperforming’ services are those that rarely come close to reaching their maximum plan speed.

Some consumers on fibre to the node connections that cannot achieve the full speed of their selected speed tier, or experience dropouts daily over an extended period, can now ask their retailer about options for upgrading to a fibre connection without committing to a higher priced plan.

NBN fixed wireless connections recorded average download speeds during the busy hours of 97.9 per cent of plan speed in December 2023, compared to 89.5 per cent in the previous report.

The average upload speed in the busy hours was 68.1 per cent of plan speed, compared to 62.9 per cent in the previous quarter. This may reflect the upgrades NBN Co is performing on the fixed wireless network to improve performance.

The report also includes results for the broadband provider, Leaptel, for the first time. Leaptel’s average download performance in the busy hours was 98.4 per cent of its maximum plan speeds in December 2023.

“The inclusion of additional retailers and emerging broadband technologies in our monitoring program is very welcome, as it better reflects the growing range of broadband offerings in the market,” Ms Brakey said.

The ACCC is currently examining whether satellite services such as NBN SkyMuster and Starlink could be monitored as part of the Measuring Broadband Australia program.

Consumers who use satellite services can sign up to volunteer via the Measuring Broadband Australia website.


Each broadband speed tier has a maximum download and upload speed; however, actual speeds vary according to multiple factors, including network demand and technology type. The Measuring Broadband Australia program primarily reports on internet retailers’ performance against those maximum speeds.

NBN Co introduced its revised wholesale pricing structure on 1 December 2023. The different pricing arrangements are part of NBN Co’s revised Special Access Undertaking, which regulates how broadband providers can access the NBN.

Data for Measuring Broadband Australia is provided by UK-based firm SamKnows using methodology based on established speed testing programs in the US, Canada and New Zealand.

To sign up, visit Measuring Broadband Australia.

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