Thursday, 05 April 2018 10:03

Aussies would spend big on better Internet – if services improve Featured

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Aussies would spend big on better Internet – if services improve Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Australian Internet users are collectively prepared to spend $267 million in total in one year to get a better Internet access, but they want a steadier service free of buffering and dropouts if they are going to fork out their hard earned cash.

And, while these Internet users are prepared to pay more for a good broadband connection, the majority of Australians (80%) wouldn’t pay more for better broadband.

Those who wouldn’t pay more are made up of 14% who believe the onus is on telcos to improve their service, while one in four (26%) say NBN Co is responsible. A further 40% are satisfied with their connection and wouldn’t pay more.  

According to this latest report from comparison website finder.com.au many Aussies — almost one in seven (14%) of 2085 surveyed — are willing to pay for a better broadband connection.

In fact, the survey found they are prepared to pay an extra $19 per month on top of an average monthly bill of $65 which, over 12 months, equates to an extra $228 – a total annual spend of $1008 on broadband connectivity.

Extrapolated across the number of Australian households with Internet access, that represents an extra $267.5 million per year which providers could earn, but only if they actually delivered, cautions finder.

Angus Kidman, tech expert at finder.com.au, says broadband all too easily falls into the “set and forget” basket.

“As long as our broadband connection works well enough most of the time, we don’t think about changing providers or making sure we’re getting what we pay for.

“It’s no surprise that some people are willing to pay more for a better service, especially if it comes with a guarantee and minimises Netflix buffering or patchy connections. But in order to achieve better Internet, consumers need more reliable information on how well each provider actually performs.

“The ACCC’s Broadband Measuring Report gives us some insights into how well providers perform, and that could drive more of us to compare and switch in the future. Most people stick with big-name providers but they're often not the source of the best deals."

"Getting problems fixed remains a big issue. Consumers shouldn't have to worry about whether an issue is the fault of NBN or their ISP, but they're often caught up in that discussion," says Kidman.

The survey also found that Western Australians would pay the most for guaranteed reliability, followed by New South Wales and Victoria.

Here’s finder.com’s suggestions on how to check you’re getting what you pay for:

1. Check your speed

There are many factors that can influence the Internet speed you receive. These range from the type of Internet connection to the plan you’re on and the number of people trying to connect at the one time.

Although the ACCC has introduced mandatory speed testing for all Internet Service Providers, this does not tell you the speeds you are personally receiving. That’s why it’s important to use a broadband speed test to check that you’re getting what you’re actually paying for. If you find yourself unimpressed with your speed, try a different modem and check all your hardware, if that still doesn’t work, it’s time to call your ISP.

2. Shop around and compare

If your home is NBN-ready it’s a good idea to jump online and compare your options rather than stick with the same provider. You might find a cheaper plan with a better service. There’s often new providers entering the market, and with that comes new plans to consider.

3. Check user reviews

Before you switch providers, check out some user reviews to see what others are saying about them. You might think you’re getting a great deal but if the provider has a deluge of bad reviews that mention poor customer service or not the greatest value for money, you might consider another provider.

4. Ask the people you know

Your neighbours and people within your community will have the best idea of what providers work best in your area. If you’ve been with an ISP for a number of years but are experiencing frequent dropouts, and your neighbours are with another provider but are quite satisfied with their connection perhaps it’s time to make the switch.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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