ACCC urges broadband retailers to update product labels

Geronimo Vena
Agosto 21, 2017

While Optus has come forward to say the high cost of "bandwidth" was stopping it from providing high-speed internet to some of its customers, Telstra - which controls more than 50 per cent of the NBN retail market - still maintains its customers "always" enjoy high speeds despite The Australian reporting it had highlighted a number of unhappy Telstra customers.

The basic evening speed category would apply to 12/1Mbps NBN Ethernet Bitstream Service (NEBS); standard evening speed would involve 25/5Mbps NEBS plans with 15Mbps minimum speeds during typical busy periods; standard plus evening speed would be for 50/20Mbps NEBS services with a minimum busy period speed of 30Mbps; and premium evening speed would be for 100/40Mbps NEBS services with a minimum of 60Mbps.

And under the new guidelines the ACCC has said it is no longer acceptable for retailers to advertise an "up to" speed claim, warning that it can give the false impression that the speed advertised is achievable at most times, including during the busy period.

In its efforts to make RSPs' speed claims clearer, the ACCC has created a collection of standard labels it would like the industry to adopt in order to give consumers better information about what sort of speeds they can expect during the evenings and better allow consumers to compare plans.

It added that RSPs should provide consumers with "good quality information about their particular service and its speed and performance characteristics" and "prompt and effective remedies in the event that their particular service does not meet the typical performance of the service as it was promised to them".

The Australian consumer watchdog has served up new ways for broadband resellers to talk about their services in fresh guidance aimed at resolving speed issues among end customers.

"At the moment, consumers are unable to tell what speed they can expect from a service during busy periods", ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin said.

It seeks to move RSPs from advertising their services based on the maximum internet speeds that may be delivered during off-peak periods, to the speeds consumers can expect to achieve during the busy evening periods between 7pm and 11pm.

"We judge, however, that such a step is necessary because the current advertising around NBN products is poor, which is unacceptable in the context of a forced migration to the NBN. The ACCC will also be closely monitoring retailer compliance with the Australian Consumer Law".

"In accordance with the principles, the ACCC considers the prevailing practices of describing and promoting broadband plan speeds using ideal, theoretical, and non-busy conditions, and/or using ambiguous, RSP-specific descriptors of "speed" should be discontinued", the ACCC said.

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