Discussion paper released on broadband monitoring

The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) has called for comment on the need to monitor and report on the performance of the telecommunications industry in delivering broadband and high data rate services.

Releasing an ACA discussion paper on the issue, ACA chairman Tony Shaw said today that concerns about quality of service have accompanied broadband take-up.

"A recent independent survey of Australian businesses revealed that more than half of those users said slow and unreliable online access was a barrier to greater involvement in the information economy," Shaw said.

"The Australian Communications industry Forum has raised broadband quality of service as an issue for next generation networks and industry initiatives are under way to provide comparative choice information. However, there is no independent performance information currently available."

The discussion paper seeks to find out if there is a need for independent quality assurance information on broadband and the form it should take.

Shaw said that historically, the ACA's performance monitoring had focused on the fixed line and mobile networks as well as compliance with the universal service obligation and the Customer Service Guarantee.

The Federal Government has identified broadband services as a key driver of Australia's global competitiveness and national prosperity and business take-up of the technology is growing. In the 12 months to June this year, new broadband connections were estimated to have grown by 131 per cent. Business users recorded the largest increase, estimated to be 299 per cent while residential connections rose by 83 per cent.

The discussion paper, Proposal for Monitoring and Reporting Quality of Service for Broadband and High Data Rate Services, is available on the ACA Web site. Closing date for comments is November 15 2002.

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