What should I know about broadband speed? | ACMA

What should I know about broadband speed?

Your broadband internet service is delivered through either fixed access or wireless access. Speed depends on factors such as the transmission medium and the relevant technologies used, coverage at your location, distance from the transmitter and the number of people using the internet in your location at the same time. It can vary a lot depending on these factors.

As we spend more time online, use more data and the choice of broadband packages continues to increase, it can be difficult to choose the broadband package with the right speed to meet your needs.

The following are some tips for you when getting or changing a broadband service.

For new broadband service users

In choosing an internet service provider (ISP), you should consider broadband speed along with other factors such as price, contract length, customer service or your particular needs.

You should discuss your needs with ISPs and ask for relevant information about the speed you can expect to get. You should ask your potential ISP to:

  1. provide you with information to assist you to estimate the speed you may need on your broadband service to meet your requirements, and the maximum speed you can get

  2. explain clearly how different technologies, such as ADSL, fibre cable or mobile access, may meet your needs, and how other factors, such as coverage or distance from the exchange may slow down the speed that you may get

  3. provide information on download speeds and upload speeds, particularly if you often upload big files like photos or videos to sites such as Facebook and YouTube

You could also:

  1. talk to your family and friends about their experience of different ISPs

  2. compare the websites of ISPs for information about their speed and reliability

For current broadband service users

If you are experiencing problems with your broadband speed, ask your ISP to see if it can improve the situation.

Firstly, you should talk to your ISP to clarify if either of the following two causes is affecting your broadband speed:

  1. you have reached your data usage limit. In this case, your ISP may deliberately control the maximum data transfer rate of traffic on a broadband service. Normally, you should receive notice of this. To sort out this problem, you could ask your ISP to increase your data allowance or wait until next month when your data usage meter re-starts

  2. ISPs often manage the traffic on their network by slowing down certain types of internet traffic, for example, peer-to-peer downloads due to network issues. Some customers may have their speeds temporarily reduced if they have been using the internet heavily. If ISPs do this, they should explain their policies in their terms and conditions. These are often referred to as acceptable use policies

If neither of these causes provides the explanation, you may:

  1. ask your ISP to give you advice on increasing speed. Some broadband services can be affected by electrical interference and your ISP should be able to recommend ways that this can be reduced

  2. ask your ISP whether you can get a higher speed package

  3. make a complaint if you feel you have been given incorrect information about broadband speed by your ISP or your ISP has failed to explain known limitations in response to reasonable information from you about your intended use of the service. In these circumstances, your ISP may be able to offer a remedy such as compensation or termination of your contract

If you are dissatisfied with your service provider’s response, you may make a complaint to theTelecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).

Last updated: 10 June 2015