The first 21 days of Exetel broadband Internet access

We have had wired broadband service delivered to these premises for almost ten years, supplied by five vendors: Telstra Bigpond, iiNet, Amaysim, Southern Phone and now Exetel.

At The first seven days of Exetel broadband Internet access I discussed the performance failure of the service observed over the first seven days.

Following that, a fault report was submitted to Exetel, and at their request, further observation of speed and ping test latency.

Service levels

I have an expectation that “I want it to deliver most of the rated speed, most of the time during the hours that I want to use it”.

As a result of behaviour of the industry, the ACCC gives some guidance on terms used to advertise a service, and a service expectation.

Essentially they say:

Standard Plus Evening Speed—plans using this label will deliver a minimum speed of 30Mbps during the busy period. This plan would be suitable for a higher usage profile (e.g. streaming an ultra-high definition movie and streaming music on one or more other device during the busy period)

So on that measure, how well did they perform?

Above are the results of file transfer tests conducted automatically, the above are filtered for those in the ACCC's defined “evening hours” on which they base their service level enforcement. All x symbols in the pink area break the 30Mb/s minimum.

In the first 21 days of service, Exetel has failed to deliver a minimum evening 30Mb/s service on 10 of the 21 days, ie 48% of days.

Above is a wider view of the download tests over that 21 days. It can be seen that on some days, most are around 39Mb/s, but on other days they are strung out down into the low single digits or even zero.

Note that congestion degraded performance is not limited to evening hours.

The characteristic of pipes carrying traffic is that performance degrades very quickly when utilisation reaches a critical value, the suppliers business is about proactively managing the timely provision of capacity to stay ahead of demand. The graph above does not suggest that Exetel are on top of it.

Traffic trend

nbnCo had predicted that traffic levels in December would be around 21% higher than the yearly average.

Above is a plot of the IX aggregate speed for NSW over the last 90 days, and there is a distinct increase in traffic levels in December where peaks were commonly 25% higher in the earlier months.

When system links reach critical utilisation levels, performance degrades very quickly, and this is the likely explanation of the observation that days are either fairly good or fairly poor.


It is time to choose another provider that might ensure that sufficient capacity is provided in a timely way to meet acceptable service levels (eg the ACCC baseline).