by Byron Connolly

ACCC to ISPs: Stop misleading consumers about broadband speeds

Feb 10, 2017
Technology Industry

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published principles to ensure ISPs claims about broadband speeds aren’t misleading under Australian Consumer Law.

The competition watchdog’s guidance is in response to consumer confusion over fixed broadband speeds after it found that 80 per cent of consumers are confused and want speed information to be presented in a simple, standardised format.

“The ACCC is concerned that the use of vague speed claims is not providing consumers accurate, comparable or useful information. Four out of five consumers have trouble comparing broadband speeds and this is causing a high level of complaints, confusion and dissatisfaction,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

“Consumers believe they aren’t getting what they sign up for, and pay for, when it comes to home internet speeds. It is time they industry met consumer demand for accurate information about broadband speeds so consumers can compare offers and make informed decisions about their internet services.”

The competition watchdog has created 6 principals to guide ISPs on best practice marketing when it comes to broadband speeds, including how to make a clear statement on the typical speeds consumers can expect during busy hours.

ISPs should make accurate information about broadband speeds available to consumers during sales processes and on their websites to help them compare plans, and identify how apps will perform (including video streaming).

They should also provide customers with support if the service falls short of expected speeds, the ACCC said.

The ACCC said it will work with industry and issue more detailed guidelines to ensure ISPs can use the framework to provide better information to their customers. It is also in discussions with the Federal government about the possible introduction of a fixed broadband performance monitoring and reporting program in Australia.