by Jennifer O'Brien

ACCC urges better info on broadband speeds, performance

Jul 26, 2016
Technology Industry

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is calling for consumers to be provided with clear information about broadband speeds and performance in a bid to improve competition and consumer outcomes in the retail broadband market.

A discussion paper, The ACCC Broadband Speed Claims, released today calls for views on how consumer information about broadband speed and performance can be improved.

As part of the release of the paper, the ACCC is inviting submissions on how information about broadband performance and speed can be improved, including views about the factors that may be inhibiting retail service providers from presenting this information.

Submissions will assist the ACCC identify the best ways to facilitate improvements.The closing date for submissions is August 25, 2016. “The ACCC is concerned about the current lack of clear information about broadband performance in advertising and other material available to consumers, and will look at steps that could be taken by the ACCC, industry participants, and others to help address the problem,” the ACCC said in a statement.

Consumers are entitled to expect clear and accurate information about broadband services, according to ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

“At the moment, it is difficult for consumers to access accurate information as broadband advertising is not focusing upon speed and performance. Consumers are being presented with little information or vague claims like ‘boost’ and ‘fast’, or just pictures in advertising of athletes or animals. Consumers need accurate information about broadband speed and performance so that they can understand if what they are being offered will actually meet their needs,” Sims said.

In the first quarter of 2016, there were 2,159 issues reported to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) about slow data speeds. It was the top internet complaint issue, and more consumers contacted the TIO about internet complaints than any other issue.

“The ACCC considers that improved consumer information will minimise the potential for consumers to be misled, reduce consumer search costs, and assist consumers to make informed purchasing and switching decisions. This will encourage broadband service providers to compete on performance as well as price and inclusions (such as data allowances),” the ACCC said.

“The ACCC believes that it is timely to consider what further steps need to be taken in Australia,” Sims said.