ACCAN calls on govt to back broadband monitoring program

Consumers don’t always have enough data to help them switch to a better ISP, consumer group says

The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network has called on the federal government to support an independent broadband monitoring program that will assess the performance delivered to end users by ISPs.

ACCAN today released the results of a survey conducted for the advocacy organisation by Galaxy Research. That survey found that quality was the third most important factor in choosing a broadband offering, behind price and monthly download quota.

More than two-thirds of participants reported at times having a substandard experience with their Internet connection, with slow speeds at some times of the day and dropouts being the two most commonly encountered examples.

“Plans are commonly advertised on headline speed claims which may only be achievable in ideal test conditions and not what consumers should expect to obtain in real world everyday use,” ACCAN CEO CEO Teresa Corbin said.

“Claims are qualified with an elusive list of factors that can affect performance, but this is difficult for consumers to engage with or apply to their service.”

Although a household may benefit from switching to another ISP, information on provider performance is not available to them, Corbin said.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) last year released a report on a broadband performance monitoring pilot program it ran.

That trial involved 90 home fixed-line connections, with hardware installed in the participants' premises monitoring a range of performance metrics including speeds, web browsing time, latency, packet loss, video streaming, jitter and DNS resolution speed.

However, expanding that pilot into an ongoing nationwide monitoring program could involve significant cost, the telecommunications industry has previously warned.

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Tags accanAustralian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC)Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)broadband

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