Assessing Broadband Experience Beyond Mbps – An Australian Perspective

Executive Summary

Billions of people globally are confined to their homes by the pandemic, relying on their broadband Internet for everything from work and education to entertainment and shopping. Amazingly, telecommunications networks globally have taken on the extra load without buckling. If there is so much spare capacity, it is worth asking why we still get poor experiences when we stream video, play online games, or teleconference? Indeed, why does the Telecoms industry perform so poorly in Net Promoter Scores (NPS), ranking below even Logistics and Banking?

Part of the problem is that we have been conditioned to focus solely on speed (aka Mbps). However, with broadband approaching 100 Mbps and beyond, speed is becoming an increasingly poor proxy for user experience, and other factors like latency, loss, and stability become more important. We need to accordingly evolve our thinking and put new regimes in place to measure user experience. Without this, investments will be misplaced, infrastructure will be tuned suboptimally, pricing will not reflect value, and users will be frustrated. With its $50B National Broadband Network (NBN), Australia can lead the way in meaningful broadband measurement.

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