Were you promised huge internet speeds by your provider, only to have your browser grind to a halt at night?
Have you been sold the dream of 100Mbps but waited 30 seconds for this article to load?
You’re not alone.
And soon, these grievances could be a thing of the past.
Internet providers might soon be forced to advertise realistic broadband speeds or risk a fine of more than $1 million under a new plan put before the Federal Government.
A new bill – tabled by federal independent MP Andrew Wilkie – calls for stricter rules on the way internet providers are able to market internet speeds.
In short, the bill wants providers to give you the speeds you are actually likely to get – not just the best you could theoretically achieve.
Specifically, anyone selling broadband would have to show the following:
- Information about typical (not maximum) broadband speeds that the average customer supplied with the services can expect to receive;
- Information about typical busy periods for customers supplied with the services and about what impact this has on speeds the average customer supplied with the services can expect to receive; and,
- Information about any other factors of which the person is aware or ought reasonably to be aware that may affect the performance of the services.
If they break these rules, the penalty for a company would be $1.1 million.
The bill is a response to complaints that people are promised the world, but rarely hit the high speeds.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) governs this sort of thing and is already well aware of the issue.
It has issued guidelines it would like internet providers to follow, asking them to provide customers with:
- Information about the typical speed of each of their NBN broadband plans in the busy evening period (7-11pm)
- The maximum attainable speed of your NBN service (once it is known) if your connection uses fibre to the basement or fibre to the node technology and is unable to achieve the off-peak speed of the plan you selected.
But Mr Wilkie said the ACCC was toothless to properly enforce this.
“I’m hard pressed to think of any other product that’s on the market in the country where you’re sold a promise and the service provider or the manufacturer is not required to actually deliver on their promise,” Mr Wilkie said.
“We really need to give the ACCC the muscle to enforce those warnings.”
He says it “remains to be seen” whether his colleagues in Parliament will support his bill.