How we test internet speed
With more and more people complaining about the speeds they're getting from their internet service providers, we decided to measure the broadband internet speeds of Australian households.
We've launched the CHOICE Broadband Performance Measuring Program, a collaboration with eMetric Pty Ltd and their sister company Enex TestLab.
How does the program work?
Volunteers who've signed up to the program receive an eMetric Smart Meter which they connect directly to their modem/router. The device measures performance factors such as upload speed, download speed and latency, during peak and off-peak times.
We collate these results in our broadband performance review, where you can easily compare broadband providers and see the difference between their speed claims and what they actually deliver.
We do thousands of performance tests then average the results to get a score that reflects the difference between the broadband providers average download, upload, average peak speed and average off-peak speed, for both download and upload. The higher the percentage in the broadband performance review the better.
You can view results by the broadband service provider, or by speed. In future we may add the option to view results for different locations, so you can see performance where you live.
As a beta program, there are some limitations to the information we're able to provide. There are a lot of different broadband plans and delivery technologies in Australia. They change frequently between providers (and some participants also switch providers during monitoring). So the day-to-day tracking of plan pricing is not possible at the moment. If we come up with a way to automate it, we may be able to provide data related to plan pricing in the future.
There are also more than eight million households in Australia, so the results presented here cover a small sample. For statistical accuracy, we've had to exclude the results of some tests where there hasn't been enough data collected to provide a fair representation of performance. This means that not all broadband providers are represented in the results.
To maintain the integrity of the results, we've also ensured there's a minimum of 10 participants on each broadband provider, technology and speed tier. This data is then averaged to give a broadband provider leaderboard.
Why is my internet slower than promised?
There are many reasons why the speed claims of providers may not match the results presented here, including:
- high demand on the connection by the household (constant downloading or streaming)
- the broadband provider doesn't have sufficient capacity to meet demand
- the service is faulty or not capable of reaching a high speed due to congestion or being a long distance from the node (in the case of Fibre to the Node).
And there are many more reasons that can impact individual broadband performance.
It's also worth considering that the theoretical maximum speeds are recognised by providers to be theoretical, and some give good guidance on what speeds you should expect at different times.
Can I participate in the program?
Yes! At this early stage, we're asking people to sign up to our Broadband Performance Measuring Program so we can bring you more data from a larger number of devices and tests over time.
If you don't see your broadband provider represented, consider volunteering to increase the chance of your broadband provider being represented. If you're already a participant and don't see your results, it means we need more volunteers, so please encourage everyone you know to get involved.
And in case you were wondering about privacy, the eMetric smart meters can't see which websites you're visiting or what activities members of your household are undertaking on the internet. See eMetric's Privacy Statement.