Monday, 10 April 2017 06:13

Telco body urges caution on NBN speed monitoring

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Telecommunications industry body the Communications Alliance has urged caution over the broadband monitoring programme announced by the government last week.

The alliance's chief executive John Stanton said small ISPs, whose performance was not monitored, were worried they would lose customers to bigger providers that were monitored.

The government announced that the ACCC would monitor the speeds of some 4000 random NBN users to determine what speeds were being provided by different ISPs who were selling NBN packages.

"Although the ACCC has told industry today that it doesn’t yet know how many service providers will be included in the regime, it has previously indicated that it expects this will be limited to something like the five largest players,” Stanton said.

"Smaller ISPs are worried that being out of the limelight of the published results will cost them customers and damage their businesses,

"The regulator, which exists to promote competition, needs to ensure that it does not engineer the opposite outcome."

He said the ACCC had a dilemma: it could include more ISPs, "but at the expense of sample sizes and therefore also at the expense of the accuracy and reliability of the published data".

"Or it can restrict the number of ISPs and risk hurting the smaller players in the market. Or it can blow out the costs of its regime and pile further expense on to consumers."

Stanton said the ACCC had not said whether there would be more consultation with industry about the monitoring programme – "something that industry sees as vital if the regime is to provide accurate information and hope to meet its stated objectives".

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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