Colin Dunkerley has a home based business and is not happy with the NBN speed he gets compared to what he expected to have.
Colin Dunkerley has a home based business and is not happy with the NBN speed he gets compared to what he expected to have. Warren Lynam

Give us the truth about the NBN: Customer

HE'S only getting a third of the NBN services he pays for and he wants changes to the way internet providers are advertising their broadband products.

Mountain Creek resident Colin Dunkerley, aka The iPad Man, owns his own business iPad Lessons teaching technology to seniors.

He's currently forking out $100 a month to Telstra for what was meant to be a 100Mbps NBN plan.

He said that 100Mbps with speed boost equated to a real download speed of about 33Mbps.

Slow internet: Colin Dunkerley has a home based business and is not happy with his internet service.
Slow internet: Colin Dunkerley has a home based business and is not happy with his internet service.

While a vast improvement on ADSL, he said he was frustrated at how long it had taken to get confirmation his service would not be nearing the 100Mbps mark.

But his biggest point of contention - the continued advertisement of high-speed NBN from a range of providers when NBN Co would only deliver a wholesale, minimum speed of 25Mbps download and 5Mbps upload.

"Why are they (providers) pretending that there's this super-fast NBN?” Mr Dunkerley said.

"The only guarantee is that it's 25Mbps.”

Mr Dunkerley said it had been difficult to find the information he'd sought about the speeds and infrastructure and said he'd had mixed messages from both Telstra and NBN Co on whose responsibility broadband speed and infrastructure was.

An NBN Co spokeswoman said the NBN packages (or tiers) were determined by individual internet providers and NBN Co was only mandated to provide a minimum whole sale speed of 25/5 to every household.

She said a number of factors affected NBN speed, including equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how different service providers design their network but added 90% of Australians would have speeds faster than 50Mbps download/20Mbps upload.

A glance at the Telstra website which advertises NBN plans with up to 1000GB of data at up to 100Mbps for $115 per month includes the following information further down on the site:

Actual speeds will be slower and will vary for a number of reasons including your equipment/software, data source and content type, the number of users...

Mr Dunkerley asked why consumer laws didn't apply to providers advertising higher speeds than mandated or expected.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was currently considering its position, assessing submissions made to a discussion paper on broadband speed and performance.

In July ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said the Commission was concerned about the lack of clear information about broadband performance in advertising and other material available across the board to customers and were looking at steps that could be taken to fix that.

"Consumers are entitled to expect clear and accurate information about broadband services,” Mr Sims said in July when the discussion paper was launched.

"At the moment, it is difficult for consumers to access accurate information as broadband advertising is not focusing upon speed and performance.

"Consumers are being presented with little information or vague claims like 'boost' and 'fast', or just pictures in advertising of athletes or animals. Consumers need accurate information about broadband speed and performance so that they can understand if what they are being offered will actually meet their needs.”

The Commission recorded 2159 issues reported to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman in the first quarter of this year about slow data speeds.

A Telstra spokesman said they'd been troubleshooting with Mr Dunkerley and had offered him a discount on his monthly speed boost bill, saying their plans came with 25Mbps download/5Mbps upload speeds that could be boosted via add-on to their NBN plans.

"Actual speeds will vary dependant on location, devices, software, data source and the content type customers are accessing,” the spokesman said.

"If any customers are experiencing lower than expected speeds, we ask them to contact us so we can look into their individual set up.”

Mr Dunkerley said he was "very appreciative” of the NBN but was not happy with what he said were misrepresentations from internet service providers in the industry about speeds in current advertising.

The former retail franchisee said he felt the NBN was a "positive step, mismanaged” and called for more transparency about the reality of how NBN would perform.

"We're grown ups, stop treating us like children,” he said.