ACCC calls for better broadband speed information


news The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has called for consumers to be provided with better information about broadband speeds.

Doing so could “improve competition and consumer outcomes in the retail broadband market”, it said.

To seek solutions to the issue, a discussion paper published by the regulator yesterday is inviting submissions on how consumer information about broadband speed and performance can be improved.

In a statement, the ACCC said is concerned about the current lack of clear information about broadband performance in advertising and other material available to consumers.

It has now made the decision to consider measures that could be taken by itself, industry participants and others to address the problem.

“Consumers are entitled to expect clear and accurate information about broadband services,” said 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,” Sims said.

Instead, consumers need “accurate information” about broadband speed and performance to better gauge if a service being offered will actually meet their needs, he said.

According to the ACCC, in the first quarter of 2016, there were over 2000 issues reported to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) about slow data speeds.

This figure made speed the most common Internet complaint issue, and more consumers contacted the TIO about Internet complaints than any other issue, the commission said.

The ACCC said that improved consumer information will minimise the potential for consumers to be misled, reduce consumer search costs and assist consumers in making informed purchasing and switching decisions.

Additionally, this will encourage broadband service providers to compete on performance, as well as price and inclusions such as data allowances.

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

Australia currently has around seven million fixed broadband subscribers and a further six million mobile broadband users that could stand to benefit from improvements to the industry.

The ACCC’s discussion paper is calling for submissions on how information about broadband performance and speed can be improved, including views about factors that may be inhibiting retail service providers from presenting this information.

These submissions will assist the ACCC in identifying the best ways to bring about improvements, it said.

The closing date for submissions is 25 August 2016.


  1. “Doing so could “improve competition and consumer outcomes in the retail broadband market”, it said.”

    Where have we heard this for sometime?

    Simple make RSPs publish provisioned CVC and PoI backhaul capacity. The market will do the rest (informed consumers choosing the right performance / price point for them).

    • And number of customers in area and average number of gigabytes their customers in the area download (TPG are renowned for leeches who try and download the entire internet…). All this data would be needed to make an informed decision. Or they could simply do as suggested, show the speeds being achieved and avoid being swamped with data to achieve just that sort of comparison.
      The only real data for comparing ISPs at the moment is the Google video performance information. It certainly shows ISPs who skimp of CVC/backhaul. Though it doesn’t show the whole story as Youtube isn’t exactly bandwidth hungry. An RSP could be getting great video performance and you can’t download a large file at more than 10Mb…

      • Right, it would need to be per customer averages.

        End-user Internet experience is complicated; different usage patterns, content-type, local proxying, overseas capacity, …

        But the above data would be much better than AVC speed utilisied today and rush to the bottom on price (aka high contention). NBNCo’s avg 1.05mbps per customer provisioned TC-4 is embarrassing given the $20+b already spent building out its network (another $~30b committed).

        • Also it would need to be by area. Seen the problem enough times where one exchange is great because they have their own fibre, another has huge congestion problems because they pay a third party (usually Telstra) for the bare minimum backhaul capacity.

  2. “Consumers are being presented with little information or vague claims like ‘boost’ and ‘fast’,”

    Telstra started this and several others followed.

    • Heh… I still remember their “MASSIVE MEGABYTE” Deals… 25 MASSIVE MEGABYTES!… during the era of Dial-ups giving up limits of 250-500MB =P

  3. We have a problem now with MTM NBN. Its completely trashed. The ACCC are allowing ISP’s to scam people into paying the same , regardless what it is.

    Legal scamming. As if it is like for like as FTTP.

    They need to price it differently.

  4. They need to stop scamming people into “superfast” superfast faulty copper trash that falls over when it rains, superfast 600ms Sat, superfast noisy congested fixed wireless, superfast congested HFC.

    Most of all they need to stop marketing their scammy faulty noisy insecure AC routers will boost their faulty copper signals further.

    The need to market NBN individually as what people get. It’s not an NBN anymore.

    The need to remove the fine print and explain you may not get what you pay for.

    They need to stop selling 100/40 for FTTN because people will never get it and just being scammed.

  5. Imagine a world where you could lookup your address and be presented with a series of wondrous information.

    Your local POI, which ISPs supply to it, how many customers are connected, what the average throughput per user is as a function of time of day, the contention ratios, CVC provisioned…

    As someone who values the stability and quality of their connection above cost or quota it would be a wet dream.

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