Home Telecoms & NBN ACCC seeks volunteers for NBN speed tests

ACCC seeks volunteers for NBN speed tests

The competition regulator has invited Australians to join a new programme that will measure and compare broadband speeds across the country.

Under the programme, which aims to find out if issues relating to poor speeds at peak times are caused by the NBN Co's performance or network management decisions made by ISPs, hardware devices will be installed in about 4000 homes for four years.

The ACCC said the aim was to get about 2000 volunteers in the first year. The devices will carry out remote tests to determine typical speeds on fixed-line NBN services throughout the day.

ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard said Australians spent more than $4 billion each year on fixed broadband services. Despite this, she said, many consumers "were left angry, frustrated, and dissatisfied by services that don’t deliver the peak speeds that are promised".

“The volunteers will be helping to produce accurate, transparent, and comparable information about the quality and reliability of the fixed-line broadband services available in their area. This will lead to more competition and better value for money for broadband services," Rickard said.

“Speed information is a key ingredient for consumers, and consumers are entitled to expect accurate information about services they buy.”

Rickard said the ACCC was investigating examples "where ISPs may have misled consumers in relation to their broadband speeds and other issues related to consumer guarantees that may raise concerns under the Australian Consumer Law".

“We believe it is crucial that consumers have access to information about the speed and quality of the broadband services they are paying for, especially as thousands of new NBN plans hit the market," she said.

"We aim to be able to identify when consumers are not getting the service they are paying for, and help when shopping around for a new deal."

Those interested can sign up here before the end of July. More information on the programme is available here.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.