ACCC wants to know who's to blame for slow internet

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ACCC wants to know who's to blame for slow internet

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has put the call out for volunteers to measure NBN speeds across the country.

The consumer watchdog wants to install hardware-based devices in about 4000 homes that will perform remote testing to determine fixed-line NBN broadband speeds throughout the day.

The program will run for four years, with 2000 volunteers in the first year. The ACCC expects the program to cost about $7 million.

The ACCC wants to determine if issues related to poor broadband speeds are caused by the NBN network itself or by individual internet service providers.

Acting chair Delia Rickard said that consumers were entitled to expect accurate speed information when they buy.

"Australians spend over four billion dollars per year on fixed broadband services and currently many consumers are left angry, frustrated, and dissatisfied by services that don’t deliver the peak speeds that are promised,” she said.

“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.”

Complaints about internet data speeds was the biggest issue for customers in the last financial year, according to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.

Last month, Optus and Telstra both blamed their comparatively higher rate of complaints on congestion in the NBN network. The ACCC is currently investigating whether ISPs could have misled customers on their actual broadband speeds.

“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. 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," said Rickard.

Volunteers can sign up to the new program until the end of July.

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