ACCC seeks volunteers for broadband speed monitoring

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ACCC seeks volunteers for broadband speed monitoring

Underperforming service providers in the cross hairs.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is asking volunteers to help it keep an eye on the country's broadband service providers, with a new monitoring program launched today.

The ACCC wants to install devices in around 4000 households for its broadband performance monitoring program over four years, starting with 2000 this year.

Most of the performance testing will be done on the NBN, with some testing of ADSL lines and next-generation broadband services.

People have until July 31 to sign up for the ACCC's monitoring program.

The panel of volunteers will be finalised in September. The first performance reports will be compiled and published towards the end of the year, with the help of an independent testing provider to be selected via a tender process.

Broadband customers spend big on network connections but providers often disappoint, the acting chair of the ACCC Delia Rickard said.

“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," Rickard said in a statement.

Complaints over poor broadband service delivery rose by almost 50 percent in during 2015-16 according to the ACCC, making it the single largest bugbear for consumers that year.

The watchdog has been plotting measures to ensure Australian broadband customers get the service quality they subscribe to for the past few years.

In 2015 it concluded a two-month pilot performance monitoring program together with US metrics firm SamKnows with 90 homes in Melbourne.

It recommended that a permanent monitoring program be set up for Australia, mirroring those in the UK, the US, New Zealand and Singapore.

The federal government agreed to provide $7 million in funding over four years.

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