ACCC wants to take over axed ABS internet survey

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ACCC wants to take over axed ABS internet survey

Lays out proposal.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is proposing to take over the collection of internet activity statistics dropped by the Australia Bureau of Statistics earlier this year.

The ACCC is proposing to enforce a new record keeping rule - or RKR - on telcos that would force them to disclose retail market shares, internet subscribers by access technology, data download volumes by access technology, and “broadband data usage per customer”.

The competition watchdog said it would use the data for periodic and aggregated releases of “internet activity metrics”, that could be used by the public, industry, government agencies and other interested parties.

The move is a direct response to the ABS shutting down its internet activity survey (IAS) in late May, having flagged it might have to do so late last year in response to budget cuts.

“Data from the current ABS IAS is widely used by industry, the ACCC and other government
Agencies,” the commission said. [pdf]

“The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also utilise IAS data for international comparisons.

“There are currently no suitable replacement sources of data.”

The ACCC said it would “modify and reduce the scope of collection” compared to the ABS survey.

It is proposing to collect data from 11 sources (plus their subsidiaries), including Telstra, TPG, Vocus, Optus, VHA, Australian Private Networks, Harbour ISP, IPStar, SkyMesh, Aussie Broadband and MyRepublic.

It will also alter some types of data decisions the ABS had made, removing “the corporate and household split, the alignment of download speed tiers with NBN wholesale speed tiers and the introduction of NBN and non-NBN disaggregation.”

“These changes will align the RKR with the ACCC’s data requirements and priorities,” the commission said.

The ACCC is proposing to keep the twice-yearly collection of data, and to have a finalised RKR out by the end of the year.

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