Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey, we truly appreciate all 1114 of you making the effort. The second survey saw no discernible difference in the results from the first survey. There remains a gap between the broadband estimate and reality and we learned the internet is largely used by people for productivity related activities. If you click on the graphic to the left or ‘Compare the Pair’ this shows a full display pdf for you to see and compare for yourself.
During Pascal’s appearance at the ‘Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network’ 1, he was asked by Senator Seleselja
”I wanted to follow on from some of the discussions about the sort of speed test function that has been added to the site. I am interested in your thoughts on that. I think that was in April. Has that added to the usability of the myBroadband site? Do you see that as an improvement; where we can get some of the speeds and get some more accurate data over time?” (pg5)1.
Pascal agreed the introduction of a speed test into the MyBroadband site was an improvement. An important assumption underpinning the current NBN project is to prioritise premises which have limited to no internet coverage, the highlighting of those areas is one of the reasons the MyBroadband site exists. As the feature was added to the MyBroadband site while this survey was underway it is too early to tell if the MyBroadband estimates have improved as a result. This gap between estimated and reality is again reflected in the results of the second survey, which you can see from the ‘Compare the Pair’ graphic.
Raw survey responses from “#MyBroadbandvReality Super sized Survey results”
In this survey we also asked the respondents what they actually used the internet for. Many who don’t see fast, stable internet access as an essential piece of infrastructure tend to focus on Entertainment. I am sure we have all heard someone say “it is too expensive a luxury just so a lot of people can play games or steal movies on the internet” or something similar… We at #MyBroadbandvReality make no excuse that we are advocates for a National Broadband Network and consider it an important piece of infrastructure for the nation to invest in. The uses are growing daily, you only need to look at Government departments themselves, all three levels of Government are encouraging people to upload, comment, put in tender, have their say (ie Strong Choices campaign in Qld) and more, so it only stands to reason that if the government themselves are wanting to put more services online for ‘cost & efficiency’ reasons, why would the public’s need be any less?
Bills beat Movies in Internet usage popularity stakes
The second survey found the public have varied uses for the internet. The top answer to the extra questions we asked was not playing games online but Banking & Paying Bills.
We asked people to tick off what of the below they used:
Banking & Paying Bills
News & Weather
Socially Connected - Friends Family Skype Social Media Email
Entertainment - Games TV Video iView
Shopping & Booking Travel & Entertainment
Education (formal or self) Research & Study
Employment - Remote working Working from Home or After Hours Work
Health & Govt Services - Centrelink Remote Health programmes etc
Business Services - Shares Small Business Tax GST PAYG Super etc.
The graph of the responses is below:
Entertainment which is always promoted by NBN naysayers as the reason why the NBN is a luxury, not essential infrastructure, actually came 4th in the list of most responses. Which given that we lumped multiple forms of entertainment into one all encompassing ‘Entertainment’ choice, this is very surprising.
It was interesting to note in the comments where a number of people would ‘like’ to work from home or work after hours but just can’t get a good enough connection to do so.
Modbury Heights SA stats: ADSL 6.31Mbps - Reality 4Mbps
"I am in the HFC footprint but Telstra advised that they cannot connect their HFC to my premises. Although my ADSL connection can usually get around 4Mbps, it is unreliable.
I would love to look into remote working (as per the checkpoints above) but it isn't feasible with my current connection."
This does lead us to consider just how many more people could either work from home, particularly thinking disabled, mothers with young children and more if they had fast stable internet access as just two examples of under-employed employed Australians?
Opinion: Ponder this... If Mining is winding down and manufacturing is reducing as a major employer, with the nation supposedly transforming to a “smart economy” for jobs in the future? Just how smart can we be with little access to the fast growing digital economy? Or if that access is in a few pockets only?
Survey Take 2 confirms 1st Survey results
All the recommendations we made in our original submission to the "Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network" still stand and are in fact confirmed by the latest survey.
These recommendations were:
Upload Speeds & Cloud Services
With all three of us working on this project being heavy IT users - fact we use Google Apps (mail, drive, docs, hangout etc.) to work together - we didn’t include the ‘upload’ speed question on purpose due to so many of our original users displaying a limited knowledge of how the internet actually works and we did not want to disenfranchise them further by making the survey too complicated for the internet user with the most basic knowledge. Having said that, the comments in both the survey itself and to us personally online make us think we need to revisit this issue in the future.
Padbury WA stats: ADSL 8.7Mbps - Reality 13.37Mbps
"The issue is not just download though upload. I am having to save my files on a USB hard drive then drive 50kms to hand my work in."
Hornsby NSW stats: ADSL 18.69Mbps - Reality 8.25Mbps
"It’s all well and good looking at the Down speed but the killer is the up speed. No focus at all on that.
trying to back up my files to cloud services is painful. Yes I get 8 down which is ok but I only get 200k up which is painful.
Working from home, IP telephony and cloud services need up speed which no one is talking about and is the killer for ADSL and similar technology."
Stafford Heights QLD stats: ADSL 9.79Mbps - Reality 8.09Mbps
"Not sure if you want upload speed, although I think it is very important for many applications, like teleconferencing and health applications, and something that the MTM has ignored. Mine was 0.86 Mbps from speedtest.net"
Are our connections getting worse?
A few comments were made in regard to their internet being worse now than it was a few years ago? As this is extremely hard to quantify and could be for a variety of reasons from weather, congestion (in home & at exchanges) or aging infrastructure, we have not actually addressed this fully.
Common sense would suggest that the more we all use the internet, more ‘people’ using, more devices in home & offices using etc. combined with current aging infrastructure, that this is a factor that needs to be addressed by the likes of NBNCo who are rolling out this infrastructure. It is undeniable that internet usage will increase.
West Tamworth NSW stats: ADSL 15.48Mbps - Reality 9.3Mbps
"My connection speed has deteriorated over time. I've also needed to try a number of modems to get a connection that is subject to less dropouts.
I gave up working from home as the connection problems became worse, and made teleconferencing less and less reliable."
Belmont VIC stats: ADSL 8.31Mbps - Reality 4.1Mbps
"Often get lots of drop-outs and the connection is often unusable when raining/wet weather because of this. (drop-outs also sometimes happen late at night too). Sometimes the drop-outs and go on for a few days after rain/wet weather. Download and upload speeds have been decreasing, when I first got the connection 5 years ago I got about 7.1 megabits per second download and 700 kilobits/sec upload speed. Currently the connection speed is 4.1 megabits download and 512 kilobits upload. The connection is shared between 4 users and it gets pretty slow when someone is watching online videos (e.g catching up on missed TV shows). Paying $69.95 a month for the internet service, would love to have a 12mbit (or faster) NBN connection which should stop the drop-outs occurring during wet weather."
A response from every Electorate in the Australia
People from every electorate taking the time to respond to the survey shows this is a National issue. As Paul quipped “Not restricted to the CBD Latte drinkers wanting the latest Ep of Game of Thrones”.
The darker the area on the map, the more responses we received from that area. If you are viewing this document online, please click on the map itself and it will take you to a large view where you can actually click on your area and it will show how many people responded from each electorate.
Some electorates had less respondents than others, though this begs the question as to what Federal electorates & regions are actually experiencing the worst speeds & stability currently? This is an area that we may revisit in future by collaborating with others interested in the future of broadband in their particular electorate.
What are we paying for?
Senator Seleselja also asked Pascal an interesting question in regard to ‘cost’ at the ‘Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network’1 he asked
“In looking through your recommendations, there is not anything there on end user pricing. Do you have any views on that? Obviously one of the challenges in rolling out a broadband network is: at what cost? Everyone would like to have the fastest speeds that we can possibly get but there are obviously some equations around costs. So I am interested in your views. If we do see significant costs for end users, do you see that as a problem or does your group not see particular problems with high costs for broadband?” (pg6)1. As per the Senators first question, this was not something we had requested in our survey, nor noted. This was a conscious decision as our focus is on how the internet is used by people and their experience.
No doubt there is a cost argument to be had. However, there is a big difference between an argument about the cost for essential infrastructure and the cost of using that infrastructure. In the case of the NBN this the cost of the infrastructure (the cables/wires) and the cost of using that infrastructure (uploads and downloads). Modern western economies have long histories of Governments funding the construction of essential infrastructure such as transport (road, rail, ports, airports), telephony, electricity, water, with people subsequently paying to use the services once established. We do not see the NBN any different.
Having said that, it did get us paying attention to comments and there could be another survey in regard to this issue alone. Many of us, including Noely Neate, are paying quite large amounts of money at the moment for an obviously substandard service compared to what the NBN itself could give us. Obviously the below is not fully detailed, though gives an indication that this is maybe an area that should be investigated further.
Thurgoona NSW stats: ADSL 20Mbps - Reality 8Mbps
"I pay almost $80 a month for a service that is below half of the optimal speeds I should be getting not to mention that the upload rate of internet in this country is absolutely dismal. On a good day I will get an upload speed of 0.8Mbps. This is just not good enough."
Personal Cost Observation:
Doonan QLD stats: ADSL 8Mbps - Reality 6Mbps - This is Noely’s actual speed comparison.
“We actually pay the most we can possible pay to get the above 6Mbps speed. Our average upload speed would be .9Mbps which is terrible. For these speeds we pay $150 per month (inc. Telephony which is minimal as we run online business).”
I was interested to know how much people are paying for NBN that had already been rolled out, so we could at least respond to the Senators query if even in a minimal way, so put out the shout from twitter. Please note the below are not in our survey as this was a specific request for NBN users only.
Scott: We're with Internode (and have been for quite a few years prior to the NBN)- we have a Silver NBN Package- costs us $54.95 per month. We get 30GB data at 25/5 download/upload. (We have never gone over our data allotment) We also have a VOIP phone with either $5.00 or $10.00 credit per month (it was included when we signed up almost 3 years ago so not sure if the same deal is still available). All calls to fixed lines are untimed at 18 cents per call.
Opinion: Scott above here is in North Qld which I considered to be pretty comparable to where Noely is on the Sunshine Coast. As you can see, he is paying less than half of what we are paying and more than 3 times the speed? Obviously it is not a direct comparison, though begs the question as to how many in this nation are paying an awful lot of money for something that is not giving them the service they deserve? How will this be in 12 months time when you have values of both Property Sales & Rentals being affected by whether they are NBN connected or not?
For those who are interested in just what can be available to you if you had NBN, see below:
Daniel: iinet plan 100/40mb,
actual speeds 98.9/42mb.
data 500/500 on and off peak
price $99.95 a month.
1TB a month just isn`t enough at 100mb speeds
The actual package costs seem to not be a lot higher than what people are paying now for an inadequate service? Cost of ‘using’ connection & ‘getting’ connection seem to be very different animals. The actual cost of using the connection, particularly when in many cases your current speed is doubled, tripled or more does not seem to be so much of an issue. Obviously the infrastructure to access that ‘connection’ is where the biggest cost is, as has been noted, the rollout of the NBN is most likely the largest infrastructure project undertaken in this nation.
Opinion: The cost to build that infrastructure should not be confused with the cost to actually use. Like all essential services, electricity, water etc., there was always a large initial cost to set up and except for very remote areas, these services have been of a nationwide standard. We may use more or less and we personally pay for that, but we as individuals do not pay a massive amount to have access to that, these essential services were funded by the taxpayer pool.
This comment probably best illustrates frustration felt by many, particularly when ‘cost’ is added to the NBN discussion. Note: language warning, though point made does bear considering as is a good analogy.
Maryborough QLD stats: ADSL 24Mbps - Reality 5.67Mbps
"I pay for a service with Telstra that i dont get the full service yet i pay the same price as someone in a major Capital who does.
If i paid $150 per month for 500kg of fruit and the supplier could only deliver 50kg because their delivery system cant handle delivering 500kg the ACCC would be up and arms and kicking ass and taking names
I am also limited to whom i can go with for a full service bundle as telstra does not allow OPtus to provide a full bundle package in my area .. isnt this a monoploy"
We will endeavour to analyse more the data we have received and will show that in future postings and hopefully address some of the issues that have been raised in this most recent survey. We will also be moving all our #MyBroadbandvReality information to a specific stand-alone website in the very near future.
We will be running a new survey shortly to find out cost comparisons and to get an indication of what people would be prepared to pay for. The anecdotal evidence highlights that many consumers would be happy to pay a considerable amount for their Internet Access, although in a lot cases by doing away with the entertainment cost of Foxtel/Austar or similar.
*As per our original survey, the raw data has had the name of the respondent removed & replaced by a number and any email addresses have been removed. Of course the excel file is available upon request.
Thanks for considering our ‘Addition’ to the original submission
The #MyBroadbandvReality team
Small Business Owner, Community Co-ordinator of Regional portal, Amateur Blogger (partner and mother of young adult).
A survivor of over 20 years in the ICT Industry who lost the technical knack years ago, a politically aware, amatuer blogger, fascinated by the interconnected nature of things.
Caitlin Mary Neate
Communications student, music lover, avid gamer, delver into languages and cultures and the dragonborn.
Husband, Father of 2 young boys, Systems Administrator, IT geek and gamer, Music lover and Politics junkie.
The Internet :
Hundreds of everyday people supported this survey, gave feedback, disseminated it amongst their personal online communities, and of course the 'quiet' experts who have freely given advice for this submission.
If you disseminate any of our posts via social media please include the hashtag #MyBroadbandvReality
We would really like to colloborate with as many people and organisations as possible. If you have any posts or information you think is relevant please contact us we would be happy to hear from you.