Local ISPs don't deliver promised broadband speeds

Broadband survey reveals customers get a fraction of advertised maximum speeds

Australian broadband users are not receiving what Internet service providers (ISPs) have promised when it comes to download speeds, according to a report released today by broadband comparison Web site, Broadband Expert.

According to the report, most ISPs don’t deliver the maximum speeds quoted in advertisements. The average speed was only 48.89 per cent of the maximum download speed advertised.

Broadband Expert's Rob Webber said Australian broadband providers need to quote the average speed of their plans. “There needs to be more transparency so consumers can see which ISPs are most likely to reliably deliver good speeds. Ideally ISPs should quote the average speed achievable in the customer’s area so they can make a more informed choice.”

The survey was conducted from July to December 2009, and Broadband Expert collected data from 11,089 speed tests on its Web site. It asked users to select the maximum ‘up to’ speed that was advertised on their broadband plan and compared this to the actual speed achieved on its speed test.

Webber stated that pressure from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on ISPs in regard to advertised download speeds led to many telcos simply omitting projected download speeds from their advertisements in late 2009.

“Whilst the ACCC prevent ISPs from quoting unrealistic ‘up to’ download speeds by quoting no speed at all, this will lead to consumers having little idea of what to expect from their broadband connection and less information available when choosing an ISP,” said Webber.

“Furthermore, there is a danger by not publishing these figures that there will be no benchmark to judge ISPs by and less incentive for ISPs to improve speeds.”

The report also showed that broadband speeds in Australia averaged a mere 3.5 megabits per second with AAPT recording the lowest average speed with 2.3Mbps, just 41.92 per cent of the expected speed. Optus delivered average download speeds of 5.3Mps, 69.23 per cent of its advertised ‘up to’ speed.

Broadband Expert also measured the average upload speed — the speed that data is transmitted back to the Internet, an important factor for activities such as online gaming. The average upload speed was recorded at 0.5Mbps, with TPG Internet leading the way at 0.6Mbps.

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