ACCAN welcomes the ACCC’s guidance to retail service providers (RSPs) on broadband speed claims released today. The guidance should help clear up the consumer confusion around broadband speeds. The informative labels that the ACCC has suggested (basic evening speed, standard evening speed, standard plus evening speed and premium evening speed) will help consumers better understand the speeds they can expect from their services, and provide a useful guide on what level of service performance they are buying.
“At the moment consumers are unable to tell what speed they can expect from a service during busy periods,” said ACCAN CEO, Teresa Corbin. “The ACCC’s advice to RSPs to focus their marketing on speed performance during busy periods will help consumers to know what speeds their services will actually deliver during peak times
“The ACCC has recognised the frustrations consumers experience when services don’t work as advertised and expected, and is suggesting that retail providers can do better in these areas. We fully support this initiative and hope retail providers will get behind it.”
ACCAN also welcomes the ACCC’s assertion that RSPs should quickly fix problems with network connections and other faults and offer consumers a refund or cancellation of their contract where they are unable to provide a timely resolution of a speed issue.
“If a consumer does experience an ongoing issue, they can also take their complaint to theTelecommunications Industry Ombudsman,” added Ms Corbin.
ACCAN is also very supportive of the ACCC’s broadband monitoring program that will begin running later this year. This program will give consumers information on speeds and performance delivered by RSPs.
Last year ACCAN strongly supported the ACCC’s investigation into broadband speed claims. We know that there is a lot of confusion around what real-world speeds consumers should expect from internet services.
Information provided to consumers about broadband speeds is often confusing and can also be misleading as claimed speeds frequently don’t match reality.
This confusion around what download speeds consumers should expect is supported by the statistics from the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman 2015-16 Annual Report, which showed an increase of 48 per cent in complaints about slow data speeds.
There is a range of factors that can affect broadband performance with little information available to consumers (see ACCAN’s infographic on what can affect broadband performance).
This confusion is supported by an ACCAN survey from early 2016 that found respondents were split in their opinion on whether providers differ in the level of quality they offer, with 58 per cent of participants agreeing with the statement “you get the same speeds at home as advertised in your plan.” ACCAN is often contacted by consumers who are frustrated with the speeds they are receiving from their services.