Vague speed promises out of vogue.
Internet service providers may need to be upfront in future on the actual broadband speeds that customers can expect if they sign up.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) this week opened an inquiry to work out what is stopping ISPs from presenting real information about internet speeds on their plans.
Service providers have “typically been slow to provide information that readily identifies the performance characteristics of their fixed retail services and plans, including speed of service”, the ACCC said.
“Rather, service providers have continued to emphasise the prices and download quotas that they offer, and have restricted descriptions of the speeds that their retail broadband services support to imprecise qualitative statements (for example, ‘quick’, ‘fast’ and ‘boost’),” the commission said.
“Further, some service providers are stating the product specification for the underlying fixed access service (for example, ‘up to’ 100/40 Mbps) without further explanation.
“This might misrepresent the speeds that the retail broadband service can consistently achieve, especially during peak periods when most consumers will want to use the service.”
The ACCC believed internet consumers were entitled “to expect clear and accurate information about the performance characteristics of services they have purchased or are considering switching to”.
“We are seeking to promote better industry practices in the evolving broadband market, including the provision of accurate, meaningful information to consumers about broadband speed,” it said.
The commission said it will consult with the internet industry over the next month to determine what – if anything - prevents it from using more realistic speed data when marketing broadband services.
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