Understanding nbn™ speeds

What determines the overall speed of your connection?

Many factors affect the internet speeds achievable at your premises. These include:

  • the connection technology at your address
  • the quality of the connection in your area and your premises
  • network congestion
  • your in-premises wiring, equipment and use.

The factors affecting internet speeds are described in more detail below.

Connection technology and selected speed tier

Depending on your specific address, different connection technologies can be used to connect your premises to the Exetel nbn™ network. Each connection type has a different theoretical maximum speed. In addition, within each technology, multiple speed tiers may be available. The table below explains the variety of nbn™ connection types.

Connection technology Description
Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) Optical Fibre runs from the internet and Exetel's network direct to your premises.
Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) Optical Fibre runs from the internet and Exetel's network to a node in your street or nearby street. An existing ‘pay TV’ or coaxial cable then runs from the node to your premises.
Fibre to the Node (FTTN) Optical Fibre runs from the internet and Exetel's network to a node in your street or nearby street. Copper wires (usually the existing phone line) runs from the node to your premises.
Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) Optical Fibre runs from the internet and Exetel's network to a pit in footpath close to your premises. Copper wires (usually the existing phone line) runs from the pit to your premises.
Fibre to the Building (FTTB) Generally used in apartment blocks or similar type of buildings. Optical Fibre runs from the internet and Exetel's network to a node in your building's communications equipment room. A copper cable runs from the node your premises.
Fixed Wireless Typically used in circumstances where the distance between premises is large. A fixed antenna on your roof receives a signal from a wireless tower.
Satellite A satellite dish is installed on your premises and receives a signal from a satellite.

Typical Evening Speeds

Typical Evening Speed is the average speed experienced by a representative group of users between the hours of 7pm and 11pm. It is not a guaranteed minimum speed and past performance is not an indication of expected future speed.

The actual speed you will experience depends on many factors such as your access technology, the total demand on the network, local internet traffic, your physical line condition, the hardware and software you use, the location of your data source and the performance of WiFi within your building. Current typical evening speeds on the Exetel nbn™ network appear in the table below.

Speed Tier configured on nbn12 Speed Tier configured on nbn25 Speed Tier configured on nbn50 Speed Tier configured on nbn100
Speed Label Basic Evening Speed Standard Evening Speed Standard Plus Evening Speed Premium Evening Speed
Typical Evening Speed (7pm – 11pm) 11 Mbps Download 23 Mbps Download 43 Mbps Download 83 Mbps Download
Typical Off-peak Speed (outside 7pm – 11pm) 11 Mbps Download 23 Mbps Download 44 Mbps Download 87 Mbps Download
Ideal for Browsing and emails Streaming music and video and web browsing Multiple devices streaming HD video and music streams with many users Multiple HD video and music streams, families and gamers and heavy downloads

To understand download speeds, it may help to think of the Exetel network as like a freeway. Your speed tier sets a maximum speed limit for how fast your data is allowed to travel on that freeway. During quiet periods, data may be able to travel across the network at the relevant speed tier 'speed limit'. During peak periods, however, like any freeway, the speed of data on the network often slows with congestion and the speed at which your data can travel will often be much less than the 'speed tier' speed limit of your access line.

The connection to your area and premises

Factors specific to your access line at your address can affect your internet speeds. These include:

  • FTTN or FTTB technology
    • Length of the copper line from the premises to the node
    • Quality of the copper line from the premises to the node
    • Co-existence period
    • Weather conditions
    • Quality and layout of in-premises cabling
    • Internal and external electrical interference
  • HFC technology
    • Quality of co-axial cable
    • Quality and layout of in-premises cabling
    • Internal and external electrical interference
  • Fixed Wireless technology
    • Signal strength or obstruction of the antenna’s line of sight to the tower
    • Weather conditions, like extreme heat and heavy rain

FTTN/B/C speeds

The maximum speed that your access line is capable of (your access line speed) can only be determined once your FTTN/B/C service has been installed and tested. If this access line speed is limited for any reason (including the Co-existence period), you may not benefit from selecting a higher network speed tier.

Once your nbn™ service is activated, NBN Co will test your access line speed. If NBN Co advises us that your access line is not capable of supporting the speed tier you have chosen, we will give you the option to move your service to a lower speed tier and credit any difference in speed tier charges you have paid. You must let us know that you wish to downgrade your plan speed tier within 3 months of your nbn™ service being activated to receive a credit.

FTTN/B/C Co-existence period and potential speed impact

Co-existence means that your nbn™ FTTN/B/C service, which partly uses the copper network, will co-exist with other services using the copper line from your local exchange to your premises. These other co-existing services include:

  • ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+
  • SHDSL
  • ISDN
  • Any other Copper ULL based service other than VDSL

The Co-existence period is the period of time commencing from the date you are first able to acquire an nbn™ FTTN/B/C service, up to the date which all legacy services (listed above) are disconnected from your local exchange.

The presence of legacy services during the Co-existence period may adversely affect the performance of your nbn™ FTTN/B/C service as follows:

  • Cross talk
  • Downstream power back-off applied by nbn™
  • Other temporary measures taken by nbn™ to manage interactions between the performance of your nbn™ FTTN/B/C service and Co-existing services.

NBN Co considers a nbn™ FTTN/B/C service to be within specification if the speed achieved during the Co-existence period is higher than 12Mbps down and 1Mbps up, and once Co-existence period has ended, higher than 25Mbps down and 5Mbps up – regardless of the speed tier ordered.

Exetel will always attempt to deliver the highest speed possible, however, as described above, there may be factors outside of our control. Exetel always recommends that you use the Exetel supplied modem for nbn™ FTTN/B/C services to ensure we can deliver the highest speeds possible on your copper line and to facilitate the best possible levels of support.

Network management and congestion

During peak periods, broadband speeds slow down as more users use our network at the same time. During these periods the speed of the network more generally often determine the internet speeds you experience rather than your access line speed or the speed tier you select.

To manage the impacts of congestion, Exetel uses network management tools to prioritise different data types. For example, during periods of network congestion, we may prioritise data for VoIP and video streaming (which require particular data speeds to operate effectively) over general downloads or internet browsing. These, in turn, may be prioritised over software upgrades and file-sharing applications that can adversely affect a network if not managed during peak periods.

Internet speeds can also be affected by the source of content and by congestion at the servers providing that content. If you’re downloading, for example, from a server which is congested or has only a small capacity, it will be slow even if you have a fast home connection. If those servers are in another part of the world, speeds may also be affected by congestion on international data links.

Wiring, equipment and usage in your premises

A range of factors within your premises can affect the internet speeds you achieve:

  • Internal wiring and configuration: Damaged, corroded, badly connected or poorly configured copper lines within your premises can significantly reduce your nbn™ speed.
  • Equipment: the quality and age of your modem, routers and devices can all affect internet speeds, particularly at higher internet speeds;
  • Wi-Fi interference: The location of your modem and any radio or electrical interference with other devices in or near your home will influence your connection.
  • Usage: the number of users and devices online at once.
  • Malware, viruses.