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;
  • the quality of the connection to your area and premises;
  • network congestion; and
  • your in-premises wiring, equipment and use.
The factors affecting internet speeds are described in more detail below.

Connection technology and selected speed tier

Different connection technologies can be used to connect your premises to the Exetel nbn network. Each technology has different theoretical maximum speeds. In addition, within each technology, multiple speed tiers may be available.

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 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.

The maximum upload and download speeds that may be possible on each speed tier during off peak periods are as follows:

Speed Tier Maximum download speed Maximum upload speed
nbn12 Up to 12Mbps Up to 1Mbps
nbn25 Up to 25Mbps Up to 5Mbps
nbn50 Up to 50Mbps Up to 20Mbps
nbn100 Up to 100Mbps Up to 40Mbps

The speed tier you select effectively sets a limit on the maximum speed of data across the line connecting your premises to Exetel's network (your access line). Not all FTTN or FTTB access lines can support the maximum speeds under each speed tier. We can't confirm the maximum speed that your access line is capable of until after your service has been installed and tested. In addition, the data transfer speeds you experience may be limited by demand in parts of the network other than your access line. Real world data transfer speeds will therefore typically be slower than the maximum download and upload speeds set out above - particularly during busy periods.

To understand this, 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 can affect your internet speeds. These include:

  • For premises connected with 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;
    • Weather conditions;
    • Quality and layout of in-premises cabling; and
    • Internal and external electrical interference.
  • For premises connected with HFC technology:
    • Quality of co-axial cable
    • Quality and layout of in-premises cabling; and
    • Internal and external electrical interference.
  • For premises connected with 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

The maximum speed that your access line is capable of (your access line speed) can only be determined once your service has been installed and tested. If this access line speed is limited for any reason, you may not benefit from selecting a higher network speed tier. Therefore, 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 recieve a credit.

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 such as BitTorrent 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.