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Oz consumer watchdog: 'up to' speeds shouldn't be in broadband ads

ISPs told to get real by advertising speeds punters will get at busy times

Australia's consumer watchdog is trying to ensure advertising offers comprehensible and accurate broadband performance information.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) wants to regulate ads that spruik speeds “up to 100 Mbps” because consumers almost never experience the headline speeds advertised.

Unveiling another set of principles to guide Internet Service Providers about how they can advertise services, ACCC chair Rod Sims said: “Four out of five consumers have trouble comparing broadband speeds and this is causing a high level of complaints, confusion, and dissatisfaction”.

The ACCC reckons buyers need to know what's going to happen to their service when the kids are all home from school and watching different streams.

Here are the ACCC's six principles:

  1. Consumers should be provided with accurate information about typical busy period speeds that the average consumer on a broadband plan can expect to receive
  2. Wholesale network speeds or theoretical speeds taken from technical specifications should not be advertised without reference to typical busy period speeds
  3. Information about the performance of promoted applications should be accurate and sufficiently prominent
  4. Factors known to affect service performance should be disclosed to consumers
  5. Performance information should be presented in a manner that is easily comparable by consumers, for example by adopting standard descriptive terms that can be readily understood and recognised, and
  6. RSPs should have systems in place to diagnose and resolve broadband speed issues.

The ACCC is also discussing a broadband performance reporting mechanism with the federal government. ®

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