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Turnbull to add speed test app to MyBroadband web site

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Australia's communications minister Malcolm Turnbull today delivered a speech at The Australian Information Industry Association's (AIIA's) Navigating Analytics Summit.

Your correspondent tuned in to the live stream, but was confronted by extreme jitter: video often cut out for seconds at a time, usually after just a few seconds of lucidity.

But towards the end of Turnbull's talk we got a few minutes of clear air and heard Turnbull say that a speed testing application will soon be added to the government's MyBroadband website, which lists likely internet performance around Australia.

The site has attracted criticism for offering inaccurate data, as users find the results it produces does not match their experience. The Reg's analysis of the site suggests it has inexplicably excluded exchanges for which documentation should be easy to come by. We've also found poor ratings assigned to areas that possess very few dwellings or business, leading us to believe that either a small sample size or poor classification regimes are in place.

Whatever the reason for the site's foibles, Turnbull told the AIIA event that “A speed test app is coming to the MyBroadband site.”

“People will be able to go and do a speed test.”

At this point the video started to jitter, so we'll try our best to reproduce what came next.

“Obviously we don't have time to go into all the vagaries of the speed test … time of day and what kind of equipment …. there are a gazillion factors.”

“I hope a lot of people do it because they will feed in to improve the quality of the information.”

Turnbull went on to say “people said it is not good enough why can't you tell what every single address … ten million …. in Australia”, which we took to mean it's a big ask to get great data about all ten million premises in Australia. He's nonetheless proud of his department's work on the site, declaring it “amazing” such a study had not been conducted previously given the scale of broadband investment in Australia.

The need for that investment was, perhaps, highlighted by the terrible performance of the AIIA's live stream. Your correspondent sits behind a 16Mbps ADSL2+ connection that, thanks to recent wiring repairs, has now been up continuously for 770 hours, and never experiences jitter on all manner of other video streaming services.

Of course any number of things could have made trouble today: the venue, the video company shooting the event, unexpected traffic, the Canberra-Sydney connection and many local factors could have made the stream behave badly.

But you could hardly ask for a better example of how more robust broadband infrastructure would improve productivity. Or a better example of Australia's IT industry bodies getting something much less than right. ®

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