If you have ever had to use Australia’s frustratingly slow internet, you know how rough it can be. Out of the 177 countries with reliable internet access, Australia is ranked 68th. Worst of all, the country continues to slip in global rankings.
Why is Australia’s internet so bad? Well, here is a detailed explanation:
Why Is Australia’s Internet So Slow?
There are several factors that have resulted in slow Australian internet access – these are poor technological advances, high costs for advanced plans, and inconsistent speeds that mean that each person can end up with differing speeds depending on where they live.
How Politics Played a Role in Poor Australian Internet
Slow internet wasn’t intended for Australia. In fact, as copper cable telephone technology became increasingly outdated, the company decided to replace this tech.
The Australian government was going to develop an optical fiber telecommunications network for the country. The plan was to make speeds of up to 100mbps available to 93 percent of households in Australia.
In 2013, however, there was a federal election that saw the Labor party being replaced by the Liberal party. It was this governing body that decided on the Multi-Technological Mix (MTM) network instead.
This network was based on the current copper cable infrastructure combined with several other technologies. The hope was that this solution would save time and money but it did neither.
The mishmash of old and new technology has resulted in the oldest and weakest parts of the structure providing internet on many occasions. What’s more, it has also caused an imbalance of access and speed among users.
How Does Internet Pricing Keep Speeds Slow?
Not only is the technology unreliable and woefully outdated, but this rollout has also been a lot more expensive than the government initially anticipated. This has resulted in higher fees.
The cost of internet service is based on Mbps. As such, if Australian users want faster internet, they have to pay higher prices. The issue is that most residents are already paying exorbitant prices for ADSL-level speeds. Few can afford to pay a greater amount.
It is estimated that the average Australian household spends about $71 on internet a month. This adds up to $852 a year. The typical cost of internet access in other OECD countries is $51 by comparison for much higher speeds.
Does Australian Internet Have a Monopoly Problem?
Yes, this is another significant issue within the country. Currently, NBN is one of the major providers of internet within the country. As they played a lead role in the tech providing internet, the company has to make up quite a bit of money.
To do so, NBN often quotes high prices to its customers. The federal government has also levied taxes on companies providing fiber optics or any other kind of internet to citizens. This makes it more expensive for these agencies to offer access.
The NBN has also recently increased its prices to customers, forcing them to pay a greater amount for higher speeds. Many of these agreements are short term ones, putting NBN in an excellent position to hike up prices in the future.
Despite continued complaints and protests, NBN continues to have a stronghold on the internet situation and is further empowering its position with the help of the federal government.
How Fraudulent Actions are Preventing Higher Speeds
To make matters worse, Australian Internet providers are willfully misleading their customers about their internet speeds.
It was recently discovered that companies such as Optus, TPG, and Tetra were not delivering on the speeds that they were charging their customers for. As such, although people were paying for higher speeds, they weren’t getting it.
To add to this, these companies failed to tell their consumers that they could move to a cheaper deal without accruing any additional costs. Thus, many stuck with their overpriced deals for much longer than they needed to.
The telecommunication companies also didn’t make any effort to check the internet speeds that they were providing to their customers. As a result, it is difficult to know just how slow the internet was getting in places.
Does Australia’s Size and Population Density Play a Role in Slow Internet?
It is easy to forget that Australia is both a country and a continent. The country is incredibly large, with much of it occupied by sparse and harsh environments. As a result, the population density of Australia is quite low.
Now, the structure of Australia’s internet is based on cables and nodes. If you are close enough to the nodes, then your access to internet is relatively fast. Move further and further away from the nodes, however, and access becomes dismal.
In fact, being just 400 meters away from a node can cause your internet to slow down quite a bit.
In remote or rural areas, there isn’t as much incentive to set up nodes as there aren’t many people around. Thus, there are a fewer number of nodes in that area. Anyone living quite a distance from here is going to suffer.
Can Australia’s Situation Get Better?
Is there hope for Australian internet or is it doomed to remain as it is?
The increasing prevalence of streaming services, video conferences, and lots of other high-powered internet services takes over the globe, Australia is looking to improve its internet. Not making an effort to do so would leave the country back in the stone ages.
This is why the government is now trying to implement better and cheaper internet and trying to increase how many people have access to it.
The downside is that this is a large and complex operation with no clear solution in sight. Thus, it can take the government quite a while before things start to move in the right direction. This will also likely be an expensive venture.
Why Is Australian Internet So Poor?
There are many different causes for slow Australian internet although outdated technology and poor policies are a major and continuing concern within the nation – the country is also plagued with high costs for higher speeds and fraudulent people in charge.