"The point of my inquiry was that if real world download experiences in two nations widely considered key competitors for Australia are making do with those speeds,"
Average speeds and real world download experience are two completely different things. Anyone with a basic understanding of statistics knows that averages are an unreliable indicator of the experience of a significant percentage of subscribers. It is the nature of an average.
Yes, Akamai et al's speed surveys are not the most reliable and methodology needs to improve.
"why should we complain about an NBN capable of delivering 100Mbps?"
All indications are that it is not capable of that for a large percentage of subscribers and reality is also that around 80% are settling on 25Mbps plans or lower, which is highly likely to be because of the prohibitively high cost of higher speeds alone. A glance at plan pricing shows that they are unaffordable for most Australians.
"There's a bundle of contradiction right there, because in one paragraph Internet Australia argues both for a rebuild of the last 20m of copper and against any network configuration that requires rebuild."
What a misinterpretation that was. There is no rebuild of the last 20m of copper being argued for. Laurie Patton was simply referring to the greatly enhanced ability for FTTDP to provide for Fibre On Demand, unlike FTTN which makes FOD a major undertaking and prohibitively costly in practice.
The simple fact is that FTTN, after completion, will necessitate rebuild from the node closer to the premises to provide any speed improvement at all.
"I've previously argued that in the best possible world, Australia would build its NBN with fibre-to-the-premises. I retain that position.
"But I also despair that debate in the field is making that objective harder to reach."
Current debate is not making any objective harder to reach within the NBN company and is certainly not changing the position of this government so far. In any case, there is not much debate about the need to be rolling out something better than what we are getting. Thank you for reading to the end :)