You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

ACCC demands better broadband speed info

AAP logoAAP 26/07/2016 Lilly Vitorovich

The retail broadband market dominated by Telstra, Optus and TPG has been urged by the consumer watchdog to provide their complaining customers with better information on connection speeds.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says there's a lack of clear information on broadband performance in advertising and other material.

"Consumers are entitled to expect clear and accurate information about broadband services," ACCC chairman Rod Sims said on Tuesday.

It is difficult for consumers to get accurate information because broadband advertising doesn't focus on speed and performance, he said.

"Consumers are being presented with little information or vague claims like 'boost' and 'fast', or just pictures in advertising of athletes or animals."

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman received 2,159 reports about slow data speeds in the first three months of 2016, the ACCC said.

Speed was the top internet complaint and more consumers contacted the TIO about internet complaints than any other issue.

The high rate of complaints has prompted the ACCC to release a discussion paper and to call for submissions on steps that could be taken to improve competition and consumer satisfaction.

An Optus spokeswoman said the company is investing "considerably" to improve, particularly with the increased take-up of video streaming services.

"We always take consumer information seriously and take steps to verify technical claims made in our marketing materials. We indicated some time ago that we'd like to work with the ACCC to ensure a common industry-wide understanding of speed measures," she said.

A spokesman for Telstra - Australia's biggest telecom group - said it will consider the issues put forward in the discussion paper and lodge a submission next month.

"We want to offer our customers the best possible experience when they're connecting to the internet - whether that's through NBN, broadband ADSL or mobile," he said.

TPG Telecom, which is notoriously media shy, wasn't immediately available for comment.

Australia has about seven million fixed broadband subscribers, plus six million mobile users, the ACCC said, citing Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.

Consumer demand for data is rising, thanks to the growing popularity of watching videos on smartphones or tablets.

Fixed network data demand jumped by 40 per cent to 1.3 million terabytes in 2014-15, from 0.96 million a year earlier, according to the ABS figures from December 2015.

Improved consumer information will minimise the potential for consumers to be misled, reduce consumer search costs, and help consumers make informed purchasing and switching decisions, the ACCC said.

It will also encourage broadband service providers to compete on performance, price and inclusions such as data allowances.

The closing date for submissions is August 25.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon