80% Of Australians Confused By Broadband Speed Claims

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Internet service providers are failing to deliver “accurate, comparable, or useful” information about broadband speeds to consumers according to the ACCC.

A public consultation by the ACCC found that 80% of Australians are confused by the claims made about fixed broadband speeds by ISPs. Consumers are requesting this information be presented in a standardised format that would allow for comparison between providers.

“Consumers believe they aren’t getting what they sign up for, and pay for, when it comes to home internet speeds,” said ACCC Chairman Rod Sims.

“It is time the industry met consumer demand for accurate information about broadband speeds so consumers can compare offers and make informed decisions about their internet services,” Mr Sims said.

To encourage ISPs to provide information about broadband speeds that would not be considered misleading under the Australian Consumer Law, the ACCC has developed six principles on marketing broadband speeds.

These include providing accurate information about “typical” speeds during busy periods, disclosing how promoted applications such as video streaming services will realistically perform, and potentially developing standard descriptive terms of performance that allow consumers to compare services.

“Greater transparency around broadband speeds will enable consumers to make clearer comparisons on product choices, further encourage ISPs to compete on speed and save consumers money,” Mr Sims said.

“The ACCC will now work with industry and issue more detailed guidelines to ensure they are able to use this framework to provide better information to their customers. It’s the first step of a longer-term plan to bring about meaningful change.”

A fixed broadband monitoring and reporting program could also be introduced in the future, with the ACCC currently in discussion with the federal government.
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