26 September 2023

ACCC finds NBN level but prices gone up

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The price of NBN home broadband services increased in 2021-22 while NBN Co’s service levels remained largely unchanged, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

ACCC Commissioner, Anna Brakey said the latest Communications Market Report 2021-22 showed that consumers on entry-level NBN plans paid 3.6 per cent more in 2021-22 than they did the year before, and those on middle-of-the-range plans paid an extra 4.7 per cent.

“Consumers on higher-end and very high-speed plans experienced the largest price increase at nine per cent,” Ms Brakey said.

“More than eight million households and small businesses rely on the NBN for their internet, so the trade-off between the price and service quality of NBN plans affects most Australians,” she said.

“The only key service metric of NBN Co’s that improved last financial year was that it fixed its appointment scheduling system.”

Ms Brakey said consumer demand for NBN broadband plans continued to consolidate at the 50 Mbps speed tier, with these services accounting for 62 per cent of all NBN retail services.

She said internet upload speeds continued to fall short of advertised claims.

The Commissioner said the ACCC’s Measuring Broadband Australia program showed slight improvement in download speed performance for NBN fixed-line services, but download speeds during the busy evening hours and upload speeds during all hours remained below the retailers’ maximum plan speeds.

“Upload speeds are increasingly important for households and businesses, and we expect NBN Co and retailers to co-operate to ensure that this key service feature meets consumer expectations,” Ms Brakey said.

“The pandemic has given rise to more flexible working-from-home arrangements and video communications require good upload speeds,” she said.

She also advised people to shop around for cheaper mobile phone plans with large retailers increasing their prices in the second half of 2021-22.

“Typical data allowances again increased in 2021-22 compared to the year before,” Ms Brakey said.

“ACCC analysis suggests that much of this extra data in plans is left unused as the median data allowance is 35 GB per month, but consumers only download on average 10 GB per month.

“Consumers can potentially save money by shopping around for cheaper plans with just the inclusions that they need.”

The ACCC’s 38-page Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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