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The Federal Communications Commission has asked internet providers and phone companies to speed-up speeds to speed customers up to the NBN’s peak speeds, after “over- hyping” the NBN by claiming it would bring up speeds to 50Mbps.
The agency also wants internet providers provide information on how they can improve broadband speeds, including speed testing and customer experience.
“The Federal Communications Board of Review is asking providers and telephone companies to demonstrate how they are meeting their obligations to ensure customers have access to high-speed broadband services, while respecting the rights of all consumers,” the FCC said in a notice published on its website.
“Providers and phone service providers that provide high-performance broadband service must meet the same basic requirements for ensuring that broadband services are accessible to all customers, consistent with the FCC’s Broadband Investment Mandate, and in line with applicable law.”
NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow said it was important that the commission recognised the NBN was being built to be able to deliver high-quality broadband.
“NBN Co is committed to delivering a world-class broadband service to all Australians,” he said.
“We have worked closely with the Commission to ensure that we have met the Commission’s obligations to provide customers with a broadband service that meets their needs.”
The NBN has not provided a speed benchmark for the NBN Co fibre-to-the-node network.
“Given that the NBN is designed to deliver ultrafast broadband services to customers in remote locations, it is essential that the Commission considers how NBN Co can improve its broadband service and make sure that customers are receiving a service that is consistent with all the requirements of the FCC,” the notice said.
NBN Co has said that speeds could reach 100Mbps for a customer on its network in the northern parts of Tasmania, but the commission’s report says that’s not possible for the whole state.
The commission said it is not aware of any examples of people using the fibre-optic network to connect to the network, and said it did not know of any cases of people downloading the service for the purposes of downloading music.
“Fibre-to the node is an important tool for delivering high-capacity fibre broadband services across Australia,” the commission said.
It said that the network would not be able deliver speeds of 100Mbps, but that there were examples where NBN Co was able to offer “super-fast” speeds.
“Super-fast broadband can be achieved when the network is configured to deliver speeds in excess of 100 Mbps for a subset of premises, or if the network capacity exceeds 10 times that of a fibre network, or when the bandwidth utilization exceeds 20 times that for a fibre-coaxial network,” the report said.
The NBN Co report said that NBN Co had identified some of the “most critical areas” of the network for the rollout of fibre to the node, but had not provided any specific speed benchmarks for those areas.
The report said NBN Co “would like to see its performance metrics reflect the reality that it can deliver broadband speeds of up to 50 Mbps and it can do so at the lowest cost possible”.
It said it would also like to ensure “that there is a reliable and predictable way to provide high performance broadband services” and “that NBN Co’s performance metrics are measured by a standardised, benchmarked and validated method”.
The NBN’s report said the agency was also seeking a benchmarking process for the speed of fibre-based fibre-tipped connections, and was asking NBN Co to identify ways it could improve performance.
NBN co said that “most of the NBN Company’s infrastructure will not be upgraded for fibre-connected installations” and that it was currently delivering the network to customers using copper connections, but it was “evaluating” the possibility of upgrading some of its infrastructure to fibre-wireless.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also expressed concern about the NBNCo report.
“As the Commission has previously noted, the commission will continue to monitor NBN Co as it works through its investigation of the Commission report, and is confident that it will not find NBN Co breaches of the Competition and Markets Act and the Telecommunications Act,” a spokesperson said.
Ms Morrow said NBNCo was working to meet its obligations under the NBN Investment Mandates, including “working with other stakeholders and stakeholders to develop a transparent and comprehensive review of NBNCo’s progress towards meeting the Commission recommendations”.
NBN Co said it had worked closely for years with the commission to deliver the NBN to “all Australian premises”, and said its broadband services were already “delivering high-performing services”.
“We are confident that we will deliver high quality and high-availability services to our customers and that we can meet the Commission objectives,” NBN Co CEO Bill Morrow told reporters.
“That is the nature of the work that we do.”
NBN CEO Bill Morrison said that while it would be disappointing if the NBN did not deliver on its