How do broadband speeds vary around the world?

By | Apr 25, 2015

The NBN: Closing Australia’s Broadband Gap

By now, it’s no secret: Australia lags significantly behind the rest of the world when it comes to Internet speeds. With the global benchmark set near 80Mbps, the fact that the country’s most common Internet connections only provide speeds of around 10Mbps represents a full-scale threat to its continued relevance in the global community. Many rural areas experience even slower connection speeds due to outdated technology and infrastructure.

In response to this developing crisis, the National Broadband Network Initiative began to roll out nationwide in 2010, with the first homes receiving service on a trial basis. The NBN promises faster speeds in more areas as well as a more stable connection to bring the country’s residents into the digital future, and you can compare different broadband plans at iiNet to experience the best the country has to offer in the early wake of the rollout.

Worldwide Leaders

The speed gap becomes uncomfortably apparent when examining the network quality in other countries around the world. Where most Australians never experience download speeds of over 20Mbps, users of the world’s fastest networks, including those in Hong Kong, South Korea andJapan, regularly enjoy download speeds of up to 50Mbps in their homes.

Appreciating the speed of the NBN starts with understanding the technology it is built on. Older Internet connection methods used copper wires to transmit data, and this medium was limited in both speed and range, as the signal would degrade over longer distances to create much slower connection speeds further from the central hub.

How Fast is the NBN?

NBN uses fibre-optic technology, which transmits data faster and more effectively, spanning much greater distances than copper wire connections with minimal loss in signal quality. This means that when completed, the NBN will be capable of providing millions of Australians Internet speeds up to 100Mbps, shattering current global benchmarks and delivering the range of benefits high-speed Internet access offers.

Many current broadband providers offer fibre-optic Internet service that uses FttN, or Fibre-to-the-Node technology, which creates a connection between the central hub and a local data processing center within the network. While this type of connection typically provides much faster speeds than feasible with copper wire technologies, an expansion of FttN known as Fibre-to-the-Premises creates an even more direct connection between source and destination, facilitating faster speeds and even more reliable connections.

Australia’s lagging Internet speeds are nothing short of a national crisis, but thankfully a solution is at hand. The NBN rollout is slated for project completion in 2021, with plans calling for FttP technology to be integrated with the majority of Australian homes to create a truly modern national network.

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