CHOICE membership

Internet download speeds


It is most disconcerting to look ahead on our broadband network . Very soon YouTube will be streaming in 4K . Twich will no doubt follow . I know my bandwidth is incapable of streaming at these resolutions . Sometimes at 1080 P I get buffering issues . Our internet speeds are in no way up to the task of the newer technology that will be here in a year or so


only too true vax2000.

we can’t even stream 720p satisfactorily, so anything else is a joke. the libs are technological luddites and labour to busy with their factional infighting to be bothered about the future.

the indies talk a lot about it, but at the end of the day it will be THEIR vested interests that sway the government and i don’t see broadband, especially rural being of any consequence to them - not enough votes in it…


Hi there,

Most of the comments have alluded to a range of factors that affect speed. It is indeed frustrating however, when you’re told something but experience something else.

The ACCC (I have no affiliation) has launched a public inquiry into broadband speed claims and it’s interested in consumer experiences as well. The overview of the submission is here:,

but speficially, if you’d like to provide consumer feedback, go to:



Many people may be suffering from “BufferBloat” see below:

"Bufferbloat is high latency in packet-switched networks caused by excess buffering of packets. Bufferbloat can also cause packet delay variation (also known as jitter), as well as reduce the overall network throughput. When a router or switch is configured to use excessively large buffers, even very high-speed networks can become practically unusable for many interactive applications like Voice over IP (VoIP), online gaming, and even ordinary web surfing.

Some communications equipment manufactures placed overly large buffers in some of their network products. In such equipment, bufferbloat occurs when a network link becomes congested, causing packets to become queued in buffers for too long. In a first-in first-out queuing system, overly large buffers result in longer queues and higher latency, but do not improve network throughput.

The bufferbloat phenomenon was initially described as far back as in 1985. It gained more widespread attention starting in 2009."

The above information was taken from Wikipedia (

So it isn’t always about the ISP and certainly if you get them to investigate your link they tend to flush the buffers in their system as part of checking and after you have had this done your speed may increase for a period of time before it fills the buffers again. This Bufferbloat does also affect the buffers in your modem/router and networking equipment (such as your network card), newer modems are starting to adopt newer techniques to help avoid/mitigate Bufferbloat but not all modems are new :slight_smile:

Other factors affecting speed can be numerous and include noisy lines, the multiple connections you have to make to get to the site you want to visit and time of day. ADSL in somewhat immune to Time of Day compared to cable but once you reach the ISP’s network your bandwidth is shared and if more people are online using the Web through the same ISP you will get slower responses (and the speedtest will reflect this with slower speeds). With the copper network getting old noisy lines are having a big impact on speeds, this is because the information is corrupted on its way to whatever site you are visiting and that site and your computer have to re-request and re-resend the information. To overcome this modems will negotiate a slower and slower speed until a speed that has the least amount of errors is achieved. If you notice hissing on your telephone or crackling it is most likely bad copper, poor/dry solder joins, or maybe water in connections (and as long as your line meets old fax standards you won’t get much joy in getting it fixed).

So before thinking that a change of ISP will fix your issue I would think of the other issues that could be leading to a low connection speed.


You may want to look into if your area had a “Tophat” (also know as CAN) installed (see this excel file from Telstra Wholesale about areas covered and amount of connections in each area ). There is more information and other reports about ADSL here:

If you are lucky to have one for your DA (Distribution Area) then you may…I say may be able to get them to connect you to the “Tophat”. As these tend to be close to where you live, if installed, you may be able to achieve speeds up to 24 Mbps download and 1 - 1.5 Mbps upload. Telstra Retail are not very knowledgeable about these so it often takes great perseverance to eventually get connected. I may also add these speeds are about what you will get with FTTN (Fibre to the Node) and so you may find no extra benefit from FTTN when it comes to your area.


I am with grahroll on this issue. like leslie.want, we too enjoy living in paradise and the price is, very, very limited coverage. We have learnt to live with it and as I mentioned prior, we do not see the need, at this stage, to pay an extra $20pm, when there are still so many problems and unknowns with NBN. It is just good to know that we are making the right choices, thanks to Choice and all your input.


Excellent post. One of the most informative I’ve seen. Thank you grahroll.


We weren’t able to get adsl at all when we moved (in the middle of the gold coast!) Apparently there were no ports available! I didn’t even know there was such thing as ports! Luckily optus had 4g wireless network 200gb for $60 with my phone plan and the avarage speed is about 5.5gb according to the speed test. We also get five top ups of 10gb for $10 so I’m pretty happy with that since the fastest I ever got on adsl2 with telstra was about 3.2gb.


Your speed test results were probably Mpbs . Megabits per second Adsl2+ is capped at 20 Mbps in most places in Australia .5.5 Mbps on 4G is not bad depending how close you are to the cellnet towers . I used to get up to 85 Mbps on my Telstra 4G .I moved suburbs it is now 10-12 mbps on average . Still usable and useful though . My Adsl2+ averages arround 17 Mbps download and 1 mbps up . Not bad am happy .


Yes, I just did a speed test too - after reading this page - I knew it was slow!.. I got 150 too - - an I only got a new wifi modem on Tuesday - two days ago - and have been battling with Telstra to get it connected - took many hours believe me! I pay full price - and get lousy internet - - I even think that is probably slower than the old dial-up - but I’m not sure - it sure feels like it - and I’m still trying to get them to understand that this is not good enough - I am with them because of coverage - like others too - it’s expensive and we just have to have it these days - there is no discount when your service is slow and unreliable - also tired of hearing ‘sorry ma’am’ !! what to do ???


@knightlyn What area are you in . City or regional ? You dont have to let me know but who is your telco , Telstra , Optus IInet etc .


Hi my internet speed is back to a reasonable speed, I was caught between the provider denying there was a problem and my computer supplier blaming each other with the problem being solved by who knows who and how it was solved is a mystery to me. I suspect that it is down to how many users are on one particular bus or supply line and if you are furthest from the exchange you will get the poorest download speed, unless they split up the download distribution. Bryan


Not sure which part of the Gold Coast you are in but there are some “Tophats” installed in some areas covered by the Southport Exchange and the Stephens Exchange, there may be other exchanges but I don’t know all the areas there. If you are in one of these “Tophat” areas you should be able to get a connection to ADSL2 at a good speed but as I stated previously this takes some effort to get Telstra Retail to understand. I am not however holding out much hope to you but it may be worth looking at the file I linked to and seeing if you can find your street in one of the areas covered by a “Tophat”.


We have always had unexpectedly good signal given our shoddy copper lines, however on occasion we have had to ask our ISP (currently Telstra) to enable Stability profile to reduce dropouts.

After several times I just asked (repeatedly demanded) that they set our line to Stability profile permanently. You lose some speed, but the line qualioty is much better. It’s not a silver bullet, but something to consider.


Here’s a speed test from India that I saw on Twitter this morning. Notice the upstream is over 100 Mbps as well. I live 1 KM from the Petersham exchange in the heart of Sydney on ADSL2+ and I am lucky to get 1 Mbps upstream.

I weep for the NBN. Imagine if Indian roads supported cars moving at 1,000 Kph and ours were stuck at 10 Kph. Future-proof infrastructure my foot.


@viveka The upstream in most areas of Australia is capped at 1Mbps for domestic users on ADSL2+. I believe there are higher speeds available for some commercial operators . Still I would not mind those speeds you show especially for streaming high end audiophile music etc . The speeds we have here are barely sufficient to subscribe to Tidal and other high bit rate music providers (192 Khz+) without buffering . I have done 2 Tidal installations on high end audio gear recently and had to switch the clients over from adsl2+ to cable to gain sufficient bandwidth ( eventually got 34 and 36 Mpbs respectively ) Our network as it stands will never handle 4k and higher . NBN ??? One wonders .


ADSL whether bog standard, 2 or 2+ have compromises on upload and download speeds. This is the nature of the beast as there is a limited bandwidth that the copper can carry. So in favour of the domestic user the ISP’s give greater weight to the download speed than the upload. Typically this equates to upload speeds being around 10% of the download or about 1.5 Mbps (Megabits per second) maximum.

“ADSL stands for Asymmetric (or Asynchronous) Digital Subscriber Line. Asymmetric is the operative word here, as it means that download and upload speeds are not the same.
ADSL relies on the old copper wire running to your home for your telephone, meaning broadband data has to share the cable with phone calls. Priority is given to downloads on the limited bandwidth, meaning uploads are much slower.” taken from

Also for the explanation, standards and speed limits see:

For businesses who want higher upload speeds they can possibly get SHDSL (see iinet for example ) which offers a maximum 80 Mbps up and down (expensive), use 4 wires to get a second ADSL line that is paired with the first to increase upload speeds to about 3 Mbps (you can get a bit more by going what is called Naked which is just a term meaning no phone voice carrier) or as you stated go to Cable or Fibre. Currently here the best upload you can get on Fibre is 40 Mbps but this is a false ceiling to standardize the offerings.


@grahroll Great post . Very informative


We slipped in our global fixed internet speed ranking with a fall to 55th in the World. Overall our speed went up but in comparison to many others our rate rise was less than many others. Our average D/load speed was about 25.8 Mbps and the World average now sits around 40.71 Mbps. If you would like to read an article about it see the following:

Our Mobile Internet ranking still remains high with ours being at 7th in the World.


I wonder if the ‘Turnbull Plan’ is implemented for the NBN like it is for Auspost. All data could be held in a router to assure it does not arrive ‘early’ or is passed through a hidden data centre in Betoota connected by a 56kb modem. :smiley: :frowning: :frowning: :frowning: