Broadband Performance Monitoring On ACCC Agenda
ACCC chairman Rod Sims today outlined the benefits of the introduction of a broadband monitoring program at the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network conference in Sydney, noting it would provide consumers a further window into the various services on offer.
Sims stated the ACCC has consulted on the possible introduction of such a program since late 2013, looking at the technical and commercial aspects, stating the ACCC anticipates that this work will be published in the near future.
“A broadband performance and monitoring program would promote competition and consumer outcomes by providing transparency over the quality of broadband services that are on offer to consumers,” he commented.
“Consumers need this information to help them select the most appropriate service for their needs and to confirm they are likely to be getting the service for which they are paying.”
Sims stated that retail fixed broadband market competition in Australia is “limited by an asymmetry of information between RSPs and consumers on service performance”.
“This asymmetry of information also exists between RSPs, who may have information about the performance of their own networks, but not their competitors’ networks – which prevents them from effectively competing on service quality, not just price,” he commented.
Sims additionally pointed to other countries, including the US, UK, New Zealand and Singapore, which already have broadband monitoring programs in place.
Sims also touched on the ACCC’s recent decision to give the go ahead for TPG Telecom’s acquisition of iiNet, stating the ACCC had concluded it would lessen competition but not substantially.
However, he noted further acquisitions in the sector would not be looked upon in the same light.
“In the TPG acquisition, the ACCC concluded that the removal of iiNet as an independent competitor would lessen competition in the relevant markets, but not substantially, which is the test to breach the competition law,” he stated.
“We took comfort that TPG would continue to face three major competitors after the acquisition. Clearly, we would have no such comfort in the case of any subsequent proposed acquisition involving any two of Telstra, Optus, TPG or M2, as things stand.”