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Aussie Broadband draws ACCC ire over absolute claims


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Oops Aussie Broadband, that’s a paddling.


(Image: ACCC)

Despite topping the latest Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) speed-monitoring report, Aussie Broadband has been told to remove claims its network was “congestion-free”.

The ACCC said on Friday that Aussie Broadband had been promoting its network using such terms since July 2017, with ACCC chair Rod Sims saying the consumer watchdog was concerned customers could believe congestion would not happen.

“Our own observations from the ACCC’s Measuring Broadband Australia program indicate that all broadband providers experience congestion from time to time, although the extent of congestion depends on how well networks are managed, and some are better than others,” Sims said.

“It’s important to note that Aussie Broadband recorded the fastest NBN download speeds in our most recent speed tests, however all NBN providers should ensure that they do not use absolute statements like ‘congestion-free’ when promoting the speed and reliability of the broadband services they offer.”

In the latest edition of the ACCC speed-monitoring report, Aussie Broadband delivered 89.1 percent of its maximum plan speeds overall and 88.3 percent during busy hours for downloads. It was a similar story for average upload speeds, with Aussie leading the pack by providing 89.4 percent of its maximum plan speeds overall and 89.1 percent during busy hours.

According to the latest ACCC NBN wholesale report, Aussie Broadband accounts for 1.5 percent of the fibre to the basement market, 1.6 percent of fibre to the node customers, 1.5 percent of NBN cable customers, and 4.7 percent of fixed wireless users. The ISP does not have enough customers to break into the fibre-to-the-premises breakdown.

Last month, Aussie Broadband called for NBN to move fixed-wireless areas over to fibre to the curb or fibre to the node, ironically, due to heavy congestion.

The NBN retailer said it used its submission to the regional telecommunications review to call for the switch, arguing that around 18 percent of the fixed-wireless network is experiencing “severe congestion”, while 12 percent is “experiencing what NBN defines as unacceptable congestion”.

“Many denser rural township areas or parts of township areas allocated to fixed-wireless in the early part of the NBN rollout could now be serviced by lower cost FttN or FttC technology,” Aussie Broadband MD Phillip Britt said.

“It would not be hard to go back into these towns and retrofit those areas to fixed-line services. It’s a natural progression for the NBN, and probably one they already have planned; we would just like to see it funded earlier.”

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