SMEs and consumers are getting a raw deal when it comes to transitioning to the NBN, but a push by the nation’s competition watchdog could see that soon change.
Addressing an event by the Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA) in Perth, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said current ‘information’ around broadband speeds was “unhelpful”.
“Few enabling industries are more important to the modern economy than telecommunications; few years have been more challenging than 2017,” Mr Sims said.
“There has never been a more important time to make confident and informed broadband purchasing decisions, but the information consumers are currently provided with does not make this possible.”
Mr Sims said the ACCC is working towards retailers providing accurate information on what consumers can realistically expect from their internet service provider (ISP).
“We want to see retailers moving away from unhelpful, easily misconstrued and inconsistently applied claims like ‘up to’, ‘boost’ and ‘superfast’, and from advertising and/or providing information about theoretical maximum speeds that are based on wholesale inputs,” he said.
“We want to see consumers presented with information based on the realistic speeds they can expect to experience during busy evening periods – not just best-case scenarios.”
A new broadband monitoring program is being developed to test out the claims of ISPs and the NBN, alongside industry consultation on where the line sits between truthful and misleading claims around internet speeds.
“Third, we are investigating and expect to be taking action on misleading conduct around broadband speeds, including practices that fail to meet the consumer guarantees provided under Australian Consumer Law,” said Mr Sims.
“We believe these three strategies will see dramatically improved advertising practices, better informed consumers and much improved consumer experiences.”