ACCC broadband monitoring scheme has been flooded with applicants

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ACCC broadband monitoring scheme has been flooded with applicants

Demand greater than available spots.

The ACCC already has 7400 internet users vying for half as many spots on its forthcoming broadband performance monitoring program.

Chairman Rod Sims told an event in Perth that the large number of volunteers suggested “Australians are passionate” about the issue of poor broadband performance.

The watchdog only has spots for 4000 volunteers in the monitoring program, split across “particular categories” of user.

Sims did not say whether there were enough suitable applicants to fill all the required spots.

“To date, more than 7400 households have registered,” he said.

The ACCC won’t start publishing speed and performance data collected by the volunteers until later this year.

But Sims believes the mere existence of the program is already leading ISPs to change their tune in the hopes of not being publicly shamed for providing poor services.

“We believe the fact that speed performance will be public is already encouraging providers to lift their game and will ensure the market operates effectively by encouraging retailers to compete on performance, as well as price, by provisioning sufficient capacity to meet their consumers’ expectations,” Sims said.

“The monitoring scheme will highlight, and customers will notice, whether companies are providing a quality service that delivers what they have been promised.

“This will make it easier for consumers to shop around and check that they are receiving what they pay for.”

Sims said the program would also “draw out whether issues are being caused by the performance of the NBN, or by ISPs not buying sufficient capacity".

However, that outcome is uncertain: analysis by iTnews a year ago showed the monitoring scheme is more likely to shame ISPs into buying more backhaul, which is likely to lead to higher retail prices.

At the same time as the broadband performance monitoring scheme is enacted, the ACCC has also launched a fresh crackdown on the way NBN retail services are marketed to consumers - again, an initiative aimed at reducing disappointment with the internet services end users receive.

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